The NFL will open the regular season with replacement officials, and the league said it was prepared to use them as long as necessary after Week 1.
Replacements will be on the field beginning Wednesday, when the Dallas Cowboys visit the New York Giants in the season opener, Ray Anderson, an NFL executive vice president, told the teams Wednesday in a memo.
Negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association are at a standstill. The union was locked out in early June and talks regarding a new collective bargaining agreement have gone nowhere. Replacements have been used throughout the preseason, with mixed results.
In 2001, the NFL used replacements for the first week of the regular season before a contract was finalized. The speed of the game and the amount of time starters are on the field increase exponentially for real games, making the replacements' task more challenging.
The NFL and the union "remain apart" on pay, pension and operational issues, Anderson said.
"We are not surprised, based on Ray Anderson's statements . . . that the NFL was not going to reach out to us," union spokesman Michael Arnold said. "However, this is consistent with the NFL's negotiating strategy which has been 'take it or leave it, and lock them out.' "
The union, whose members are part-time employees with outside jobs, also disputes the value of the league's salary offer, which it says would not be the 5 percent to 11 percent increase the NFL claims.
Tomlinson moving on
Retired tailback LaDainian Tomlinson is moving into his second career - in the broadcast booth. The NFL Network and SiriusXM Radio announced Wednesday that the former Charger and Jet will appear on the NFL Network's new Sunday morning show, First on the Field, and host weekly shows on league news and fantasy football for SiriusXM.
Tomlinson retired in June after rushing for 13,684 yards, fifth on the career list.