The NFL and the referees might not have a deal in place, but Ed Hochuli is getting his guys ready. Peter King of Sports Illustrated has more.
The NFL will have Hochuli to thank for the training sessions the NFL has not been able to run because he has run some of his own.
Every Tuesday night, the veteran official with the Popeye arms has been holding rules-related conference calls with all officials. Average attendance on the calls, I'm told, is between 90 and 110 per week. Hochuli, the officiating sources says, gives all officials a test each week, similar to one they might get from the NFL during a regular week of preparations, and then goes over the results on the phone with the officials.
Basically, for those who are wondering what it would take for the NFL to have regular officials back on the sideline this week.
If the NFLRA's board of directors accepts the deal provided by the NFL, the referees must meet in Dallas to try and ratify the proposal. The deal would have to get done by Thursday and the meeting in Dallas would probably need to get done by Friday.
That's because crew meetings take place Saturday morning and afternoon along with game tape study. The league will also probably excuse them from mandatory preseason training just to get them back on the field as quickly as possible.
Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated states that a deal is not imminent, but there is headway being made between the league and the NFL Referees Association and "talks are proceeding" according to Jim Aiello of NFL PR.