Back in the saddle: 2017 clinic in Dallas begins

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New senior vice president of officiating Alberto Riveron has a busy weekend ahead of him. The 124 NFL officials are meeting in Dallas today for their annual clinic camp, which allows Riveron to have his entire officiating staff together prior to the start of the preseason. This will be the last time through the season where all of the officials will be together to hear from their boss and their supervisors.

Speaking of supervisors, former officials Rob Vernatchi and Doug Rosenbaum have left the field to take supervisor positions with the officiating department, and they will lead classroom-style meetings with the deep officials, replacing former side judge and regional supervisor Neely Dunn.  In addition, Bill Leavy will take the reins with the referees, Garth DeFelice will be working with the umpires, and Gary Slaughter will be in charge of the down judges and line judges.  The 17 crews will also gather and work together to determine their off-the-field responsibilities for the season.

There will be extensive film study, particularly around rule changes and points of emphasis. The reworking of the celebration rules, for instance, will rely on video examples to ensure consistent enforcement.

At a media session on Friday, Riveron, vice president of officiating evaluation and development and former head linesman Wayne Mackie, vice president of instant replay and administration Russell Yurk, referees Brad Allen, Carl Cheffers, Walt Coleman, Terry McAulay, Ron Torbert, and new replay official Terri Valenti will speak to the press regarding new topics for the upcoming season.

In May, all officials passed a physical examination, so there will not be as much focus on physical conditioning this weekend. The clinic will conclude with a written rules test.

Three weeks until the Hall of Fame Game — yes, the offseason is nearing its end!

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