Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pro Sports

September 24, 2012

More uproar about replacement officials

Replacement officials are getting to Bill Belichick, too.

The New England Patriots coach grabbed the arm of an official as they were leaving the field Sunday night after rookie Justin Tucker's last-second field goal barely sneaked inside the right upright, giving Baltimore a 31-30 victory.

Belichick said he doesn't expect to be fined for making contact with the official, although that usually is NFL policy.

"I'm not going to comment about that. You saw the game," Belichick said in his postgame news conference. "What did we have, 30 penalties called in that game?"

Actually, it was 10 for 83 yards, fewer than the Ravens' 14 for 135 yards.

"It's our job to go out there and control what we can control," Belichick added. "That's what we're going to try to work on. Talk to the officials about the way they called the game. Talk to the league about the way they called it. I don't know. But we just have to go out there and try to play the best we can."

The kick was close, but replays clearly showed it was good.

Week 3 produced suspect calls during several games, even as the league and the locked out officials' union met.

Two people familiar with the talks said the sides held negotiations Sunday. It was uncertain whether progress was made in an attempt to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, or when further negotiations would take place.

The two people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the talks are not being made public.

The NFL locked out the officials in June after their contract expired. The league has been using replacement officials, and through three weeks of the regular season there has been much criticism over the way some games are being handled.

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