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Report: NFL, NFLRA Reach Agreement; Refs Could Return For Week 4

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Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the replacement officials. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the replacement officials. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Football fans may not have to worry about the replacement referee drama for much longer.

Jim Daopoulos, a longtime official, tells NBC and Pro Football Talk that the NFL and NFL Referees Association have agreed to a new deal.

But until the ink is dry, nothing is set in stone.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen first reported the two sides agreed to a deal in principle, and the real officials could be back on the field this weekend for Week 4.

Read: Boston Company Offers Free Laser Eye Surgery To Replacement Refs

Mortenson writes: The NFL and the NFL Referees Association made enough progress in negotiations Tuesday night that the possibility of the locked-out officials returning in time to work this week’s games has been discussed, according to sources on both sides. An agreement in principle is at hand, according to one source familiar to talks, although NFL owners have postured with a “no more compromise” stance.

Read: Belichick Fined $50K For Making Contact With Ref

The replacement referee experiment hit a boiling point over the weekend, with several bad calls and incidents with the replacement officials.

Read: Keller: Leave Replacement Refs Alone

Freeman reported earlier on Wednesday that the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) agreed on a mentoring/training program that would create a larger pool of potential referees to replace struggling refs on the field.

The always outspoken Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, was the first NFL owner to make a public statement about the potential deal, doing so over Twitter.

“Your loud voices r heard about getting Refs back. We’re desperately trying 2 get it done! We want a deal that improves officiating overall,” he tweeted.

Irsay tweeted shortly after, “Let’s be clear,when our NFL Fans talk,we listen..if you’re unhappy,we’re unhappy…we’re here 2 serve U..everything we do is to please YOU!”

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