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NFL, refs agree to lockout-ending deal
 
Replacement referee Jim Core questions a call during a season-opening game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 10.
Replacement referee Jim Core questions a call during a season-opening game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 10.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The National Football League and the NFL Referees Association agreed to a new eight-year contract late Wednesday, immediately ending a four-month lockout that had enraged pro-football fans and coaches alike. The replacement refs, who've made a series of game-changing bad calls, will be replaced by regular officials by Thursday night's game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. The 121 members of the referees' union will meet Friday to vote on the deal, plus pick up their equipment and assignments for upcoming games. The officials expect a warm reception from the fans, at least at first. "The honeymoon will probably last for the first quarter," says longtime referee Ed Hochuli. "Then it will be back to business as usual."

 

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