NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino resigns

NEW YORK (AP) Officiating director Dean Blandino is leaving the NFL to spend more time with his family and explore other opportunities.

Blandino has been the league's vice president of officiating since 2013 and has overseen several changes in the way the game has been officiated, with an emphasis on player safety.

The 45-year-old Blandino has young children and the demands of his job have limited the time he has spent with them and his wife.

Blandino joined the NFL in 1994 as an intern and moved through the ranks. He was an instant replay official from 1999-2003 and worked two Super Bowls and two conference championship games. He managed the NFL's instant replay program from 2003-2009, and from 2007-2009 he was director of officiating, supervising day-to-day operations and the game officials' schedule under Mike Pereira.

He left the NFL in 2009 to form his own company, returned in 2012 and succeeded Carl Johnson as chief of officiating the next year.

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