Players to league: End refs lockout

Posted: September 24, 2012

On a day when a number of games were marred by suspect calls, the players' union sent a letter to team owners calling for an end to the season-long lockout of referees.

The letter, posted Sunday on the union's website, said that a lack of a safe working environment exists because of the replacement officials.

"Your decision to lock out officials with more than 1,500 years of collective NFL experience has led to a deterioration of order, safety and integrity," the NFL Players Association wrote.

The NFL did not comment, but two people familiar with the talks told the Associated Press that the league and the officials' union met Sunday.

The league locked out the officials in June.

More trouble with refs

The players union may have a point. Replacement officials admitted making two mistakes in Minnesota's victory over San Francisco, while several other games included suspect calls that could have affected the outcomes.

Referee Ken Roan said he twice granted the 49ers challenges after coach Jim Harbaugh called timeout in the fourth quarter. Neither challenge was legal.

In the Lions-Titans and Bengals-Redskins games, officials marched off too much yardage on penalties.

Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch's helmet-to-helmet hit on Craig Stevens wound up as a 27-yard penalty, while the Redskins were penalized 20 yards instead of 15 for unsportsmanlike conduct in the final seconds of their loss.

Denver coaches fined

Speaking of bad officiating, the Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will be fined $20,000 each for publicly criticizing the replacement officials after a Week 2 loss to the Falcons, reported Sunday.

The NFL even called the Georgia Dome at halftime on Monday night to get the message to Fox and Del Rio to tone down their act in the second half, according to a league source. The NFL issued a memo to its coaches during Week 2 to stop bullying the replacement refs.

Player's brother killed

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith rejoined the team Sunday after briefly leaving for Virginia to deal with the death of a younger brother in a motorcycle accident.

Tevin Chris Jones, 19, died Saturday night in Westmoreland County after his cycle ran off the road and struck a utility pole on Route 672, Virginia State Police said. He was wearing a helmet, and alcohol was not a factor.

Smith was notified at the team hotel in Baltimore shortly after 1 a.m. and immediately left to be with his family. He returned Sunday afternoon for a night game against the Patriots.

Earlier, Smith tweeted: "I can't believe my little brother is gone ... be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them ... this is the hardest thing ever."

Smith scored two TDs and had 127 yards receiving in the Ravens win.

Injury report

Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis will undergo an MRI on Monday on his left knee, which buckled Sunday against the Dolphins and forced him to leave the game. Team officials were tight-lipped but indications were that the noncontact injury could be serious, perhaps an ACL tear.

The NFL's leading rushers, the Dolphins' Reggie Bush and Buffalo's C.J. Spiller, had to leave their respective games because of injuries.

Bush hurt his left knee at the end of a run, while Spiller was injured after a 25-yard reception. He will be out for a week or two, Bills coach Chan Gailey said after the game.


This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.


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