Locked out refs say NFL putting players at risk

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 18 2012 9:55 p.m. MDT

The NFL's on-field officials say the league is paying lip service to player safety by contacting replacement officials.

They also believe the NFL planned to lock them out rather than negotiate a new contract. Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out June 3 after talks broke down.

NFLRA President Scott Green and past president Ed Hochuli, both current referees, said Wednesday the NFL is jeopardizing the safety of the players, as well as the integrity of the game, by considering using officials they feel are unqualified. None of those officials will come from the top college division because they all are barred from accepting NFL jobs by the colleges, Green said.

RG3 SIGNS WITH 'SKINS: Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins ended their contract impasse Wednesday when the rookie quarterback signed a four-year, fully guaranteed deal worth $21.1 million. It also includes a club option for a fifth year. Griffin will be on the field Wednesday for the third day of a five-day rookie camp. He wasn't considered a holdout because training camp doesn't officially begin until July 26.

LYNCH CHARGED WITH DUI: Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was charged Wednesday with driving under the influence in Northern California.

FORMER 49ER DIES: Former 49ers defensive end Cleveland Elam, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who had a team-high 17.5 sacks in 1976, has died.

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