Roger Goodell comfortable with replacement NFL referees

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he is comfortable with the idea of using replacement officials in preseason games.

The Hall of Fame Game is coming up Sunday, and there is no end in sight to the labor dispute between the NFL and its officials.

Speaking to reporters at the Green Bay Packers' training camp Wednesday, Goodell said he doesn't think using officials with less experience will represent a safety risk to players.

"That's why we've been training them for the last two months and why they're on the field now, is to make sure they're prepared, they understand the rules," Goodell said.

Ray Anderson, NFL VP of Football Operations, told NFL Network on Wednesday that a number of initiatives are in play to ensure player safety.

"We have rigorously evaluated our 136 officials and we feel very good about them going out and doing an incredible job," Anderson said. "We have spent a lot of time focusing and training them over the course of the last two months specifically in regard for the player-safety rules and being vigorous about those enforcements and we feel very confident that they will do a good job."

Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out June 3 after talks broke down.

Goodell said the league has offered officials a pay raise as part of negotiations.

"Of course, they're interested in compensation and benefits, we understand that," Goodell said. "We've made a proposal we think is fair, with an increase. It's five to 11 percent per official. We think we've been responsive on that and hopefully we can get something done."

Goodell said the main emphasis in negotiations from the NFL's perspective was to find ways to improve officiating.

"We are in talks; we had recent talks and anticipate more coming soon. In the meantime, we have got to be ready for our games," Anderson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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