– The Rams wrapped up their Thursday practice a couple hours ago and did so with the bright shining light of the news that the regular officials will be back to work in time for tonight’s game between Baltimore and Cleveland and for the rest of the season (and the next eight years).
– The news came Wednesday evening that the league and Referees’ Association had agreed to a new contract for the next eight seasons. And with it, the league’s national nightmare came to an end.
– On Thursday, the Rams expressed their happiness with the agreement and what it means for the game.
“I am happy to see the officials back,” RB StevenJackson said. “The replacement refs, they did what they could and they filled the void but I learned a lesson that officials are just as important to the game as anybody else.”
– Coach Jeff Fisher echoed those sentiments after doing a tremendous job of biting his tongue while providing subtle analysis of the situation was it was happening.
“I’m very excited that both sides could get together and get it worked out,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot that needs to get done by this weekend but I’m glad that we’ll have our regular guys doing all the game.”
– The NFL announced Thursday morning that long time veteran Gene Steratore and his crew would handle the game tonight. Considering that groups like Steratore’s have been around seemingly forever, Fisher isn’t concerned with how the officials will do upon getting back to work.
“How many years of experience do they have collectively? I think the least experienced on the crew is probably four or five years,” Fisher said. “These guys, they’ve done it before. They’ll get it done. It won’t be a problem at all.”
– Of course, Fisher isn’t going to break out rose petals to welcome the officials back. When asked how long it would take before he’d be willing to “dog cuss” an official, Fisher gave his second consecutive line of the day:
“Right after the opening kickoff,” Fisher said, a grin creeping across his face.
– Elsewhere, the Rams went through another normal Thursday practice as they prepare for Seattle on Sunday.
– On the injury front, DE Eugene Sims returned to practice after an illness kept him out Wednesday. He was listed as a full participant. Coincidentally, he felt well enough to get into a scuffle in practice with T Ty Nsekhe.
– Nsekhe was actually released later in the afternoon though it had nothing to do with that skirmish. Instead, the move was made to make way for T Joseph Barksdale, whom the Rams claimed off waivers from Oakland. (More on this in a separate blog coming shortly).
– The rest of the injury report remained the same and looks as follows:
DNP: T Rodger Saffold (knee), DT Matt Conrath (knee), Jackson (groin) and S Matt Daniels (hamstring).
Limited Participants: DT Michael Brockers (ankle), T Wayne Hunter (knee)
– That’ll do it for this. I’ll have a quick hit blog on Barksdale and Nsekhe in just a bit. Thanks for reading.
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