The NFL and the NFL Referees Association are meeting Friday to try to make progress toward a new contract for the locked-out officials, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter on Twitter.
"For the first time in a month, the NFL and the locked-out officials are meeting today, trying to see if they can resolve their differences as the league gets ready to kickoff its 2012 season, according to sources. The NFL refused to confirm the meeting and declined any comment," Schefter tweeted.
While the officials have been locked out, the replacement refs have received criticism. In one instance, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis attributed an incorrect call to an official not knowing the rule in question.
The replacement officials will reportedly start the regular season
, but if a deal is reached soon, the referees could return early in the year.