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Report: NFL and NFLRA close to ending officials lockout

The locked out referees are reportedly close to getting back on the field. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NFL and NFL Referees Association are close to ending the officials lockout and both sides will work to have officials on the field this weekend, ESPN.com reports.

An agreement in principle is at hand, according to one source familiar to talks, although NFL owners have postured with a "no more compromise" stance.

Sources say it could take a week or more to get the 121 officials back on the field, and that the locked out referees are training on the new rules that were installed this season. The call got stronger for the regular officials to get back to work after Monday's night game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks ended in controversy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has wanted the power to "bench" officials who underperform or are downgraded during the season. The NFLRA contends the league already has that ability because there are always between one and four crews that sit home each week and would be more qualified to substitute in such a scenario.
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