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Report: Agreement on deal between NFL, officials close

Upon Further Review Football

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2011 file photo, referee Ed Hochuli , center, exits a replay booth on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh. Thanks to a handful of attention-getting calls in this year’s playoffs, the officiating is a topic of conversation. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)


The NFL and its locked out officials were negotiating prior to Monday night’s Packers-Seahawks debacle.

That game, which brought national attention, added light to the negotiations and perhaps a bit of heat.

Now, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen’s reporting that “an agreement in principle is at hand,” with the possibility of regular officials being on the field this weekend.

Of course, this is also like the first wave of “the lockout is about to end,” reports a little over a year ago. In the NFL, there’s really no such thing as “close.” It either is or it is not.

While all signs are pointing to a deal being struck soon, the devil will continue to reside in the details of this one, and until we see Ed Hochuli doing push-ups or a signed contract, it’s not time for a celebration just yet.