NFL says talks under way for refs to return this weekend

NFL says talks under way for refs to return this weekend

Credit: Getty Images

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)



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Posted on September 26, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 26 at 7:20 PM

DALLAS — Tim Millis, the executive director of the NFL Referees Association, said he would love it if the NFL referees were called in for a ratification vote later Wednesday.

Millis made the comments by phone after reports that a deal with the referees union and the NFL is imminent.

Since last October, Millis has been directly involved with the negotiations with the league, trying to get a new contract.

A report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen said that negotiations on Tuesday night were good enough that the possibility of the locked-out officials returning in time to work this week's games has been discussed, according to sources on both sides.

Millis said they have talked about getting back this weekend.

“We would have to get them together pretty quick in order to do that, but that can be done. I've seen it done so again it depends how quickly we can get it to a point to where they can vote on it,” Millis said.. "I can't say it will be settled right away."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello quoted the late Giants GM George Young by saying, "There is no such thing as close."

“Well I think I can put it in football terms,” Millis said. “Greg is probably right. It’s kind of like being on the one yard line. You can waste four downs on the one and still not score and throw an 80 yard pass and score, so Greg May have a point.”

The last-second play in the game between Green Bay and Seattle Monday night seems to have added more urgency to the talks.

"To be on the field on Sunday, we would have to get it done right away," Millis said. "Right now, they don't have any uniforms. We don't have anything.”

Also complicating the immediacy of a settlement is that the NFL Referees Association has to take a ratification vote in person. That might take another day.

"If the financial part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement is done, the rest will go quickly," Millis said. "It also can't be done in two hours. We anticipate we can get it done, we want to get it done, but as of right now, it's not done."