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NFL, Officials Nearing Agreement, According To Reports

The NFL and the NFL Referee's Association are nearing an agreement that would end the lockout of current officials, and eliminate controversial replacement officials.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

Multiple sources, including ESPN's Chris Mortenson and Adam Schefter, are reporting the NFL and the NFL Referee's Association are nearing a deal that would bring the locked out officials back onto the field, possibly as soon as this weekend.

SB Nation reported Wednesday the two sides bridged the gap involving back-up crews, but still remained separated on benefits and pension.

Controversy and threats of governmental intervention are pressuring the return of officials to the league. Three weeks full of skepticism have prompted the NFL Players Association to send a letter to the NFL claiming they are not living up to their collectively bargained requirement to provide a safe workplace.

Most recently, Week 3's Monday Night game between Seattle and Green Bay ended in tremendous controversy, leading some players allegedly talking about boycotting in protest.

If the two sides are able to come to an agreement, and the sense of urgency in which they appear to be operating now suggests they feel it's possible, officials could return for Week 4. Stay tuned to SB Nation and Behind The Steel Curtain for further developments.