NFL, refs still without a contract

Former Eagle Kevin Kolb is the No. 2 quarterback for now for the Cardinals.
Former Eagle Kevin Kolb is the No. 2 quarterback for now for the Cardinals. (   PAUL CONNORS / AP)
Posted: September 02, 2012

The last-ditch effort to get real, honest-to-goodness NFL referees onto the field in time for the NFL's opening week came up short on Saturday when the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

The officials have been locked out since June and replacements worked during the preseason to poor reviews.

"We met with the NFL this morning and discussed various potential solutions to reach a new collective bargaining agreement," Michael Arnold, lead negotiator for the NFL Referees Association, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any agreement."

Though they may miss out on some dough, the real refs probably wouldn't mind seeing a week or two of replacement work in the regular season. The replacements' performance should only strengthen the union's bargaining position. And when the real zebras are back, fans, players, and coaches will be less likely to verbally abuse one of them for not seeing that a receiver's toe came down one eighth of an inch across the sideline. (OK, maybe just for one week.)

Feeling left out

Martellus Bennett, the Giants' backup tight end, spoke with reporters Saturday. New York will play Bennett's former team, the Cowboys, in Wednesday's season opener.

According to a tweet from Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Bennett and his new QB, Eli Manning, text each other all the time. That kind of QB-tight end camaraderie was something new for Bennett. When asked if he did the same during his four years with Tony Romo in Dallas, Bennett - according to Vacchiano's tweet - said: "I just must got his number my last year on the team."

The alleged Romo-Jason Witten clique strikes again.

Rumormonger

When you're the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and your franchise has hitched its wagon to Blaine Gabbert's star, you'll grab onto any kernel of good news like a shipwrecked sailor clinging to a life preserver.

And so it is that Mike Mularkey is repeating rumors he has heard that his best player, Maurice Jones-Drew, will soon report to the team.

Of course, as the Associated Press reported, Mularkey didn't hear these rumors from anyone who matters.

He told reporters on a conference call that he's "heard the same things like you have, but nothing from people that need to tell me. Nothing personally from Maurice."

Old Birds, new nests

Tight end Brett Brackett and offensive tackle D.J. Jones, who were cut by the Eagles on Friday, have been claimed off waivers. Brackett, a 2010 Penn State graduate, was claimed by the Jaguars, while Jones was picked up by the Giants.

Winslow out of work

Veteran tight end Kellen Winslow was cut by the Seahawks on Saturday, according to a report on ESPN.com.


Contact T.J. Furman at tfurman@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @tj_furman.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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