Goodell OK with subs
With no end in sight to a labor dispute between the NFL and its officials, commissioner Roger Goodell said that he is comfortable with using replacement officials in preseason games.
Goodell said he doesn't think using officials with less experience will represent a safety risk to players. Player safety, he said, is "obviously such a focus for us, they've been training on that basis."
Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out June 3 after talks broke down.
Straight talk from 85
Chad Johnson, the former Chad Ochocinco, gave a candid assessment Wednesday of his forgettable season with the New England Patriots last year. Less than a week into training camp with the Miami Dolphins, Johnson summed up 2011: "I had a bad year."
After averaging 76 catches the previous nine years, Johnson caught only 15 passes in 15 games in 2011 after the Patriots acquired him in a trade with Cincinnati for a pair of draft picks.
Still, Johnson, said he has no doubt he can recapture the form that made him a six-time Pro Bowl receiver. Why?
"Because I'm good," he said. "I'm really good. . . . I'll be back to normal. I don't have a choice."
Cowboys get in shape
Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones and two other players have been cleared to practice starting Friday after passing their second-chance conditioning tests.
Jones, receiver Andre Holmes, and newly acquired safety Brodney Pool failed the initial conditioning test on Sunday. After two days of remedial running, the trio got another chance Wednesday and passed the test, a series of timed sprints.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said Felix Jones was probably dehydrated during the initial test on the opening day of camp.
Coach Jason Garrett said Holmes and Pool had done a lot of distance running during the offseason, while defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Pool was also bothered by back stiffness.
Garrett anticipates all of them being ready to practice Friday, after the team's day off Thursday.
Chargers' Mathews hurt
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is listed as day-to-day after getting banged up in a car accident.
Mathews told reporters he banged an elbow "a little bit" and was sore on Tuesday. He said the accident happened while he was driving a familiar road on his way to the team hotel after watching a movie at his home. "It's a freak thing that happened," he said. "I drive that corner every day going to work."
"I felt like I played about four games when I woke up this morning," Mathews said after sitting out Tuesday's practice.
The California Highway Patrol said Mathews lost control of his BMW while entering Interstate 8 on Monday and hit another car. The other driver wasn't hurt. An official said Mathews may have been driving too fast, but added that no drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.