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NFL Referees Association welcomes expanded role in training camp

Derek Bowers, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis


On Saturday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh lobbied for the increased use of officials during training camp, in a monologue that eventually prompting Harbaugh to jokingly “go[] Trump” and lobby for the building of “a wall” to secure the American border.

The NFL Referees Association apparently wants to “go Gorbachev” and tear down the wall that’s keeping officials from getting more reps during training-camp practices.

“We think Coach Harbaugh’s idea is an excellent one,” NFLRA Executive Director Jim Quirk said in a statement issued on Sunday afternoon. “We have plenty of our game officials who are available to work, however the League determines how long our members work with the teams.”

Currently, officials work team practices for three or four days during training camp. Greater work would mean greater expenses, and the NFL apparently isn’t willing to incur those costs.

“There is nothing in the CBA that limits the use of NFL Game Officials in training camp,” former NFL referee and lead negotiator for the 2012 labor deal Scott Green said in the same release. “Sounds to me like the League is unwilling to increase the budget for our people to spend more time with the teams in the training camps.”

The nature and the amount of the added expenses isn’t specifically known. Travel and lodging expenses are a given; presumably, the game officials also receive compensation for working at team practices.

So if Harbaugh or anyone else wants the officials to increase their presence during camp, the NFL needs to be willing to cut the check to make it happen. With or without a bake sale to fund it.