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Referees blow whistle on 'scab' plan


Referees blow whistle on 'scab' plan

NFL officials are blowing the whistle on the NFLs plan to replace them.

Lost somewhat amid all the discussion of Bountygate, free agent comings and goings and various player arrests this summer is this: The NFL as of now has locked out its referees as of early June and is in the process of hiring replacement referees should the dispute not be settled before the season starts.

CBSSports.com got its hands on a memo the league sent out concerning replacement refs, and as CBSSports Mike Freeman wrote, what the NFL wants in its replacement refs is scary.

Major college conferences forbid their referees from also working NFL games. So whos left?

According to Freeman, the memo from the NFLs director of recruiting, Ron Baynes, indicated that the league is looking for:

1. An Official who have recently retired from a successful career in College officiating and is still physically able to officiate at a high level of competency.

"2. Lower division college officials, professional league officials and semi-professional league officials whose window of opportunity for advancement has pretty much closed but who have the ability to work higher levels but just got overlooked."

Says Freeman: This is amazing. The NFL is going to trust its billion-dollar business to semi-pro refs and dudes who just got off the back nine?

The dispute, as it usually does, boils down to money. The officials, whose threat to strike precipitated the lockout, say the NFL planned to lock them out all along.

"Lockout seems to be their negotiating strategy with everyone," referee Scott Green, president of the referees union, told the Associated Press. "We don't want to be locked out. We want to get back to the table and get this resolved."

Current and former referees also say that using replacement officials could compromise player safety.

The integrity of the game will be compromised when you put people out on the field who have no idea of the timing, rules or management of the game or player safety, MikePereira, former NFL vice president of officiating, told a Fox Sports Radio show. Much like not seeing the best players, you wont be seeing the best officiating. Youre going to have people that have never officiated player safety rules at this level before and that will lead to mistakes.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."