NFL roundup: Goodell apologizes for replacement refs' performance

The SportsXchange

NFL commissioner apologized for the performance of the replacement officials in the first three weeks of the season.

"We're sorry to have to put our fans through that," Goodell said on a Thursday afternoon conference call with reporters .

Goodell believed a deal would be reached with regular officials before the negativity of questionable calls Sunday night and Monday night spurred greater urgency.

"It doesn't always happen at the speed we all would like it to happen," Goodell said. "They were very anxious to get back on the field. I believe we would've reached an agreement this week.

"I think there was pressure on all of us to get an agreement done," Goodell said.

Goodell said he was sorry to put fans through the lockout and recognized Packers fans feel they were robbed of a victory at Seattle on Monday.

"Anytime you have these controversies, they stay with us," Goodell said. "There are a lot of calls that are looked back in history. That's a part of sports. That's a part of history. ... I know the great Packer fans -- as frustrating and disappointed as they are in the outcome -- they also understand that's something that's happened for decades."

Goodell said it was a personal priority for Week 4 to have all games covered by regular officials. The crew of Gene Steratore stepped forward to work Thursday's game at Baltimore.

The result of marathon negotiations Tuesday and Wednesday was an eight-year agreement that Goodell said believes was important to the future of the game.

--Defensive tackle Warren Sapp, defensive end Warren Sapp and offensive linemen Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden and late quarterback Steve McNair lead the first-year modern-era candidates nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Contributors include team owners Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., Robert Kraft, Art Modell, Bud Adams and Jack Kent Cooke. Provided contributors are not currently playing or coaching, they can be considered for nomination.

The Hall of Fame released its full list of 127 nominees -- 89 players, 14 coaches and 24 contributors -- on Thursday, which will be narrowed to 25 candidates who are named semifinalists in November. That list is reduced to 15 modern-era finalists announced in the month leading up to the Super Bowl in New Orleans, where the Class of 2013 is announced in a live press conference on Feb. 2, 2013.

---Kellen Winslow was released by the Patriots.

Winslow reportedly asked for his released and the Patriots granted his request prior to Thursday's practice.

Winslow made just over $48,000 and logged four offensive snaps with one reception in his only game with the team Sunday night at Baltimore.

--The Dallas Cowboys signed punter Brian Moorman, who was released by the Bills with a net of 32.7 yards per punt in three games.

Moorman was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and steps in for injured Cowboys punter Chris Jones. Jones will miss at least two weeks with a sprained knee.

Moorman has allowed an NFL-worst 172 return yards and coach Chan Gailey said he was missing directional punts he'd normally nail.

---You know it's a big deal to have the NFL referees back on the field when the naming of the officiating crew for Thursday night's Baltimore-Cleveland game becomes news.

The NFL announced Thursday the names of the crew members who will work the first game since a contract agreement was reached with the league late Wednesday, ending a dispute that had forced replacements to work the entire preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season.

Gene Steratore, entering his 10th season, was named the referee. Joining him will be umpire Bill Schuster, head linesman Wayne Mackie, line Judge Jeff Seeman, field judge Bob Waggoner, side judge Jimmy DeBell, back judge Greg Steed, replay official Larry Nemmers and replay assistant Ken Dollar.

---Kansas City has lost starting center Rodney Hudson for the remainder of the season and Ryan Lilja is expected to step into his spot for the Chiefs.

Hudson, a second-round draft pick in 2011, suffered a broken leg in the Chiefs' win over New Orleans on Sunday and was placed on injured reserve.

Lilja will slide over from left guard and Jeff Allen will take Lilja's place.

---One day after missing practice with a sore right hip, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was back on the field Thursday.

The Detroit News also reported that tight end Tony Scheffler returned to practice after sitting out last Sunday's loss to Tennessee because of a calf injury.

The Lions are preparing for a division game Sunday against Minnesota.

---St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson did not practice for the second straight day Thursday because of a groin injury.

It's uncertain whether he will play this week.
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