NFL latest: Including Referees and Darrelle Revis

A weekly round-up of news from the NFL.

The NFL Referees Association today ratified an eight-year deal with the league in Texas. The referees returned for Thursday Night Football’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns when a tentative deal had been agreed and with the new deal approved today, the referees will travel from Texas to their respective games for Sunday’s Week 4 matchups.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has penned a letter to fans expressing his regret that a deal with the NFLRA could not have been agreed sooner: ‘My most important responsibility is to improve the game for this generation and the next. I believe in accountability, not excuses. And I regret we were not able to secure an agreement sooner in the process and avoid the unfortunate distractions to the game. You deserve better’.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was fined $50,000 earlier in the week for his contact with a replacement referee at the end of his team’s loss against the Baltimore Ravens. Belichick duly apologised and his fine follows that of Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan who had to pay $25,000 for criticising an official.

Cleveland Browns’, and former Saints, linebacker Scott Fujita met Roger Goodell in New York on Friday to further discuss the existence of a bounty program during his time in New Orleans. As per the pre-discipline process of the collective bargaining agreement, Goodell has to meet with the players before issuing a penalty. Fujita reportedly admitted that there was a pay-for-performance system, which is nonetheless banned by the league, but denied that there was a bounty program.

Darrelle Revis tore his anterior cruciate ligament and will undergo surgery in the next fortnight but Rex Ryan says he will wait until the surgery is completed before placing the cornerback on his team’s injury reserve list. And New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan speculated that Revis could play again this season should the Jets reach the Super Bowl. A change in rules from last season means one player on the IR list can be reactivated after Week 8.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith lost his younger brother last Saturday on the day before his team’s game against the New England Patriots. Smith decided to play against the Patriots and caught two touchdown passes to help the Ravens win 31-30. Smith continued his remarkable performances in his time of mourning when he caught another touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in the 23-16 win against the Browns.

image: © marianne oleary