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ESPN: 99.9% chance of replacement refs



What seemed a far-off future threat last October is now a relative certainty, according to a report by ESPN.

A source with knowledge of the negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association says, “I’m 99.9 percent sure replacements will work in Canton” officiating this Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game.

The officials were locked out by the league on June 3 when their contract, signed in 2006, expired. In 2001, officials went on strike on the opening weekend. The second week of games was postponed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Both sides hammered out a deal in the week off, and the officials were back to work as when play resumed.

Football has contacted both sides this week, but neither was willing to comment on specifics.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)