NFL, referees resume negotiations
Just two days after the NFL announced that it will use replacement officials for the start of the regular season, the league resumed negotiations with the NFL Referees Association on Friday, leaving open the possibility that the union officials might return in time. The season begins Wednesday night, with the Giants hosting the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Officials from both sides would not comment on the status of negotiations.
Replacement officials have come under scrutiny from some coaches and players during the preseason. Former NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira said in an interview with Newsday last week that using replacement officials threatens the integrity of the game and that he hopes there will be a resolution of the labor dispute before the season.
Cards to start Skelton
Skelton is in his third season after being drafted in the fifth round out of Fordham. Kolb, acquired last year in a trade with Philadelphia, signed a five-year, $63.5-million contract extension with $21 million guaranteed.
Branch heads cut list
Receiver Deion Branch, the most valuable player of the Patriots' 2005 Super Bowl victory, was cut by New England. Branch, 33, re-signed with the Patriots in March after spending parts of six seasons in New England. He recorded 51 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns last year and has 502 receptions for 6,499 yards and 39 touchdowns in his career.
Other notable cuts include several backup quarterbacks: Nine-year veteran Seneca Wallace was beaten out by Colt McCoy in Cleveland, Mike Kafka fell to rookie Nick Foles and journeyman Trent Edwards in Philadelphia, Brian Hoyer got axed in New England and Josh McCown was released by Chicago.
Other veterans released as teams prepare for the regular season: Rams defensive lineman Vernon Gholston, a former first-round draft pick by the Jets; Patriots center Dan Koppen, Eagles defensive backs Joselio Hanson and O.J. Atogwe, Redskins running back Tim Hightower, Steelers offensive lineman Trai Essex, Lions cornerback Alphonso Smith and Bills defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.
Redskins safety suspendedRedskins safety Tanard Jackson has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. This is Jackson's third drug-related suspension.