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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
The NFL announced Wednesday it will begin hiring between 21 and 24 full-time game officials from among the current roster of 124 officials for this season.
"We believe this is a great development for NFL officiating overall and ultimately the quality of our game," said NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. "We share a common goal, which is to make our game as great as it can possibly be, and look forward to working together on this new effort."
Full-time officials will be hired at each of the seven officiating positions and may serve on each of the 17 officiating crews. They will work collaboratively with their assigned crews, the league officiating staff and the NFL's football-related committees during the offseason.
"NFL officials are always looking to improve, and we believe that additional time, particularly in the offseason, will be positive," said NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green.
Unlike in most other pro sports, NFL officials have other jobs.
Falcons: Running back Devonta Freeman, who was set to make $1.838 million on the last year of his rookie contract he signed as a fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State, agreed to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension. The deal, which averages $8.25 million, makes Freeman the highest paid running back in the NFL.
Cowboys: Punter Chris Jones signed a four-year contractextensionthrough2021. Jones, who had one year remaining on his deal, had a career-best average of 45.9 yards last season.
Colts: Defensive tackle Kendall Langford was released after he failed a physical. Langford went on the physically unable to perform list as training camp openedwithaninjuredknee.
Steelers: The NFL cleared Martavis Bryant to join his teammates in preseason practice and games, 16 months after he was suspended for one year. The league, however, stopped short of fully reinstating the wide receiver.
* Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and widereceiverAntonioBrown will not play in Friday's preseason opener against the Giants. Rookie Josh Dobbs is expected to start at quarterback.
49ers: Rookie linebacker Donavin Newsom was released from the hospital Wednesday, a day after sustaining a concussion in practice.
* Coach Kyle Shanahan said 2015 first-round guard Joshua Garnett will have a procedure today to clean out his injured knee and his status for the season opener Sept. 10 against Carolina is in doubt.
* Prosecutors dropped domestic violence charges against former 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock because of insufficient evidence.
Bengals: Coach Marvin Lewis, 58, was back with the team after missing Tuesday's practice to have a knee problem checked.
Seahawks: Offensive lineman Germain Ifedi returned to full participation in practice for the first time since being punched in the face by teammate Frank Clark during a skirmish last week. Clark also practiced but on a limited basis as he deals with a sore knee.
Jets: Quarterback Christian Hackenberg opened team drills with the first-team offense for the first time since camp started after Josh McCown had done so in the first nine practices. Hackenberg finished with the most snaps overall and threw two TD passes but also was intercepted twice.
Patriots: Five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion Vince Wilfork signed a one-day contract at Gillette Stadium and retired as a Patriot.
Cardinals: Coach Bruce Arians said quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich will call the plays in Saturday's preseason game against Oakland.
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