Two rookie NFL officials, one member of the Officiating Development Program and one veteran NFL official have been working north this summer to call Canadian Football League games.
This is the fourth year of the NFL-CFL Officiating Exchange Program.
The NFL officials calling CFL games this year are:
- Side judge Keith Washington
- Rookie Jimmy Russell
- Rookie Nate Jones
- Development official LaShell Nelson (pictured above)
We do not yet know the CFL officials working preseason camps, scrimmages and games. Those officials will be listed in the 2019 NFL ODP roster, and that roster isn’t fully available yet.
For the most part, the NFL sends new(er) officials to the CFL, but there is precedent for NFL veterans getting turf time in Canada. Washington will be entering his 12th season in 2019.
What is new and noteworthy is that Nelson is going to the CFL. This will be her fourth season in the development program and she is the first ODP official to be part of the exchange. This tells us that the NFL wants to take a very close look at Nelson for a future opening. If she is hired in 2020, she would be the third woman to be hired permanently by the NFL, joining down judge Sarah Thomas and replay official Terri Valenti.
The NFL officiating year started May 15, and there have been some zebra sightings as teams begin organized team activities and minicamps. Once training camps open, ODP officials and officiating crews will visit training camps for a rules presentation and then work some scrimmages. Then, the crews take to the field for the first preseason game on August 1, the NFL Hall of Fame Game.
Summer is just beginning, but football is coming.
Image: CFL on Instagram