NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tells fans “you deserve better” than games worked by replacement officials.
In an open letter released by the league Friday, a day after the regular officials returned to the field, Goodell says: “I regret we were not able to secure an agreement sooner in the process and avoid the unfortunate distractions to the game.”
The officials were locked out in June with the two sides unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. Replacements were used for three weeks to increasing criticism from players, coaches and fans. The dispute reached deafening levels when a missed call cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.
Goodell tells fans the new contract will improve officiating and commends the replacements for their dedication.
Raider doesn’t remember
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey still has no recollection of the devastating hit by Pittsburgh safety Ryan Mundy last week that left him with a concussion and neck strain.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since being carted off the field and hospitalized overnight following the play, Heyward-Bey said he’s seen television replays of the hit but otherwise has no memory of it.
“I don’t remember any of it,” Heyward-Bey said Friday.
Heyward-Bey appeared to be knocked out immediately after getting hit on the chin by the crown of Mundy’s helmet early in the fourth quarter of the Raiders’ 34-31 win over the Steelers. His limp body crashed to the turf headfirst and his neck twisted awkwardly.
According to Raiders coach Dennis Allen, Heyward-Bey has not passed all the tests and has yet to be cleared to participate in contact drills. He attended practice Friday as an observer but is doubtful to play in Sunday’s game against AFC West rival Denver.
Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being limited in practice with a bone bruise in his right knee. Former Mount Union standout receiver Pierre Garcon is questionable with a sore right foot, and kick returner Brandon Banks is also questionable with a hip injury.
Around the league
Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Laurent Robinson returned to practice and is expected to play against Cincinnati.. … The New York Giants might be without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks for Sunday night’s game due to a knee problem. … Tennessee Titans middle linebacker Colin McCarthy will miss a third consecutive game with his sprained right ankle, and receiver Kenny Britt missed his third consecutive practice with his own injured left ankle. … Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson has the team doctor’s clearance to play this weekend. Jackson sprained his right knee in a season-opening loss at the New York Jets on Sept. 9. … Fullback Korey Hall retired three days after he signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona re-signed fullback Reagan Maui’a.
NFL doles out fines
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy each have been fined $21,000 by the NFL for flagrant hits.
Four players were fined $15,750 Friday by the league: Denver linebacker Von Miller, Cincinnati defensive back Adam Jones, Eagles defensive end Jason Babin, and Titans defensive end Scott Solomon.
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terence Newman was docked $10,000 for hitting Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III out of bounds.
Denver’s been fined more than $150,000 in the first three weeks of the season, with coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio getting theirs for verbal abuse of the replacement officials.