Most of the Redskins were happy to learn that the NFL and referees association had come to an agreement to end the lockout of the officials who have come to be known as the “real refs”.
“I’m excited to finally get our real refs back,” said defensive end Stephen Bowen.
How happy? He said that the next time he saw Ed Hochuli, one of the more well-known NFL field officials, “I’m going to bear hug him and tell him I love him.”
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander also was glad they were back. “They always say you don’t miss something until you go without it,” he said.
Alexander serves as he team’s player representative and he was particularly pleased about the about the impact that the return of the referees will have on player safety.
“I’m glad they were able to get a deal done so we can go out here and play some clean games,” he said.
Defensive end Kedric Golston said that the two sides were under too much pressure not to settle in the wake of the highly controversial ending of the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday night.
“There was a lot of other people outside of the football world who were starting to catch a hold of it,” said Golston. “It was starting to take off with wings.”
Kory Lichtensteiger is happy to have some degree of consistency as to how the games are called. “Very excited to have them back,” the starting left guard said. “We went into games with the replacements knowing to expect the unexpected with them. Calls were going to go every which they, it was going to be sporadic.”
Not all of the players were all that excited to see the referees return.
“I didn’t really care on way or another,” said center Will Montgomery. “I’m not worried about the refs, I’m not going to change the way I play based on who’s reffing.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was nonplussed by the return as well. The sum total of his reaction was, “It’s a new group to yell at.”
In any case, the players were not inclined to give the officials a break while they work off any rust that may have accumulated in the eight or nine months that have passed since any of them officiated an NFL game.
“They’re professionals,” said Alexander. “If I miss a week because of injury I don’t get a free pass.”
Lichtensteiger agrees. “Nobody’s ever patient with the referees, no matter who it is.”