Officials mulling over latest NFL offer
The NFL's offer is on the table. If its officials don't take it, they might not be working games for quite a while.
The league upped its offer to the locked-out officials yesterday from a 40 percent raise in the first year of its contract to a 60 percent raise, and gave them 24 hours to respond. If they don't accept it, the league said it would go with replacement officials.
"We have to make plans Thursday to get officials to the game," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
There was no word of the outcome of the conference call early today involving Tom Condon, the negotiator for the officials, and the four-man board for the group Ed Hochuli, Bill Carollo, Jeff Bergman and Ben Montgomery.
NFL executives, knowing Hochuli is the hard-liner, were hopeful the other three would overrule him.
Aside from the 60 percent increase, the rest of the package remains the same, with officials' salaries doubled by 2003.
Even the new offer is far below what the union has demanded the two sides are 50 to 75 percent apart in the salary package.
The officials, who are part-timers, are seeking close to the annual salary made by officials in the other three major team sports. The NFL counters that it pays more per game than any of the three its 16 game season is far shorter than the 80 to 162 games in the others.
Last week, the league locked out its officials, who have been without a contract since March.
Last week's final exhibitions were worked with replacements, most from college or the Arena League.
Leaf fails physical: Ryan Leaf failed a physical because of a wrist problem and remains one of the NFL's many unemployed veteran quarterbacks.
"It was an injury that concerned us enough that we couldn't make a decision to put him on the roster," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "I know he was disappointed."
Leaf left the team's headquarters without talking to reporters, ducking in the front seat of a van to avoid being photographed.
Brees No. 2: Drew Brees will be the San Diego Chargers' No. 2 quarterback behind Doug Flutie.
Brees, who led Purdue to the Rose Bowl last season, beat out former CFL star Dave Dickenson even though he missed the first 19 practices of training camp in a contract holdout.