Regular refs back; Goodell apologizes to fans
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL's regular officiating crews are back, and Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologized to the fans who fretted about the replacements the last three weeks.
After two days of marathon negotiations — and mounting frustration across the league — the NFL and the officials' union announced at midnight Thursday that a tentative eight-year agreement had been reached to end a lockout that began in June. The regular refs' return couldn't have come soon enough for many players, coaches and fans.
"Obviously when you go through something like this, it's painful for everybody," Goodell said on a conference call about 12 hours after the deal was struck. "Most importantly, it's painful for fans. We're sorry to have to put fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term."
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