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NFL announces hiring of Sarah Thomas as full-time official

When reports emerged last week that the NFL would be hiring Sarah Thomas to serve as the league’s first female full-time game official, the NFL had nothing to say. Which said plenty.

On Wednesday, the NFL announced nine first-year officials, including Thomas. She’ll be a line judge initially, with the ability based on performance to move into other roles -- including the highest position of referee.

Thomas will be available on a national media conference call at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The other new officials will be side judge Walt Coleman IV (son of referee Walt Coleman), line judge Kevin Codey, head linesman Hugo Cruz, head linesman Bart Longson, umpire Clay Martin, side judge Aaron Santi, field judge Shawn Smith, and side judge Jabir Walker.

The full slate of officials and crews for 2015 will be announced next month. The appointment of nine new officials means that nine of the officials from 2014 won’t be back, unless the NFL has decided to add more total officials than it had a year ago.