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Ferguson: Replacement refs are affecting everybody

D'Brickashaw Ferguson was the New York Jets' first-round

D'Brickashaw Ferguson was the New York Jets' first-round draft pick in 2006. Ferguson became the first left tackle to start every game of his rookie season for the Jets since Chris Ward in 1978. The three-time Pro Bowler and children's author also helps his hometown, Freeport, and surrounding communities through his non-profit, the D?Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation, which focuses on schools, churches and food banks. Credit: Getty Images, 2008

Prior to his Tuesday afternoon book reading on Long Island, D'Brickashaw Ferguson spent much of the morning glued to the television.

The final seconds of the Seahawks-Packers game set off a firestorm involving the NFL replacement referees and the inability of Roger Goodell (and owners) to get a deal done with the real officials. 

It didn't take Monday night's outcome to prove there is a distinct difference in the current level of officiating versus previous years. So for Ferguson, it boils down to "accepting the reality of now." 

"When we play, we can’t allow the refs to determine the games for us," he told Newsday. "Obviously they’re always going to have an affect, but we don’t want to make it close. It’s a reality of our situation now. We know we have replacement refs. There’s a visible difference (in the way they call things), but until the situation takes care of itself, this is kind of where we’re at.”

I was surprised to learn that Ferguson hadn't even considered refusing to play -- joining forces with other NFL players to force the league's hand by threatening a work stoppage.

“I really haven’t thought of that as an option," the Jets left tackle said. "We’re still playing for our team, I’m playing for the Jets, so even though they officiate the game, we’re playing the game. So the best way we can combat that is just by making sure when we do things, we don’t put them in a situation where they call a play that can ultimately change the overall outcome of the game.

"It’s the reality of our situation. And it’s something we’ll have to deal with. There’s no getting around that. Until that situation is resolved, it’s just something that we have to deal with and fans will have to deal with and everybody that watches games will have to deal with. I think we’re all being affecting in different ways.”

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