NFL, NFLRA agree to eight-year deal

NFL, NFLRA agree to eight-year deal
September 27, 2012, 4:56 am
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The NFL and the NFL Referees Association reached an agreement late Wednesday effectively ending the three-month lockout, according to the league.
Officials will vote on the deal on Friday and Saturday, but referees will return to officiating for Thursday night's game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns.
"The long-term future of our game requires that we seek improvement in every area, including officiating," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "This agreement supports long-term reforms that will make officiating better. The teams, players and fans want and deserve both consistency and quality in officiating.
"We look forward to having the finest officials in sports back on the field, and I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion. Now it's time to put the focus back on the teams and players where it belongs."
The agreement includes stipulations that the current pension plan will remain in place for all current officials through the 2016 season, retirement benefits will be provided for new officials, compensation increases, and options for the NFL to hire officials on a full-time year-round basis and to retain officials for training and development purposes, according to the league.