FILE - This May 21, 2012 file photo shows Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III stretching during practice in Ashburn, Va. Griffin has agreed to terms on a contract with the Redskins. Griffin's agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press that the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback agreed to terms and will be in Redskins rookie camp on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
NEW YORK -- The NFL's on-field officials say the league planned to lock them out rather than negotiate a new contract.
Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out June 3 after talks broke down. The league has been contacting replacement officials.
"Lockout seems to be their negotiating strategy with everyone," said referee Scott Green, president of the NFLRA, clearly referring to the lockout of the players in 2011. "We don't want to be locked out. We want to get back to the table and get this resolved."
The league responded that it began the process of hiring replacements when the officials told the NFL of their intention to authorize a strike.
No talks are scheduled.
The officials say their wage offer was for a smaller increase than they received in the collective bargaining agreement that expired in May. They said it would cost each of the 32 teams $100,000 per year to meet that proposal.
The NFL has called its offer to the officials a fair one, noting it includes a seven-year deal with annual compensation increases of between 5 and 11 percent. According to the league, an official in his fifth season earned an average of $115,000 in 2011 and would earn more than $183,000 in 2018 under its proposal.
Green and past NFLRA president Ed Hochuli say the NFL is jeopardizing the safety of the players, as well as the integrity of the game, by considering using officials they feel are unqualified. None of those officials will come from the top college division because they all are barred from accepting NFL jobs by the colleges, Green said Wednesday.
"To take seven officials who have not worked Division I (college) games or not worked the last several years," he said, "and to put them on the field has got to be pretty unsettling not only to the players and coaches, but to the fans."
Green said players know the current officials are consistent in their calls, but won't have any idea "what will be called or seen and what won't be, and that will be a product of how the game is being affected."
Added Hochuli: "There is no game if the competitive nature of the game is not being controlled" by officials.
The NFL disagreed, saying in a statement:
"Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players, and fans, including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games.
"We are confident that these game officials will enforce rules relating to player safety. Contrary to NFLRA leadership, we do not believe that players will `play dirty' or intentionally break the rules."
Hochuli, perhaps the best-known NFL ref, said the 121 officials who are locked out are training on their own, including hours of video work and taking rules tests.
"When the lockout ends -- and we know it will end -- we'll be ready to take the field the next day," Hochuli said. "But just like the players, whose preseason helps get the mistakes out before the season starts, if there is no preseason (for the officials), there will be mistakes that will happen, just like with the players."
Indianapolis to make bid for 2018 Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS -- The city of Indianapolis, flush from the economic and public relations successes of this year's Super Bowl, wants to host the big game again in 2018.
Declaring "let's do it again," Mayor Greg Ballard announced plans for a formal bid Wednesday to cheers from organizers and volunteers who helped plan and stage the Feb. 5 game and the celebrations and events leading up to it.
Ballard said officials were delighted by the game's financial performance, which included nearly $152 million in direct economic impact and the positive national exposure it brought to the city. He said an analysis found that about 84 cents of every dollar spent for Super Bowl stayed in Indianapolis.
"Those are the kind of numbers that I like -- somebody else spent money and Indy benefited from it, so I have four words for you: Let's do it again," Ballard said to applause during a news conference at Lucas Oil Stadium downtown.
Both Ballard and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said they expected competition would be stiff for the city to land a second Super Bowl. Irsay said he is completely behind the new bid and said he had heard rave reviews from other league owners on Indianapolis' performance as a host city.
"We're not just another Midwestern city," he said.
Mild, sunny weather in Indy helped stave off fears that a "northern" Super Bowl would be a bummer because of cold temperatures, but organizers said they believe large crowds would have come in colder weather, too.
Irsay said the Super Bowl village activities and other events related to the game showed that the city best known as the home of the Indianapolis 500 auto race -- and ridiculed decades ago as "Naptown" by some detractors -- could pull off a big event in a unique way.
"Of course the weather cooperated," he said. "We probably had some expenditure on suntan lotion, maybe not sand for the snowplows."
Ballard said the city would submit its bid to the NFL for the 2018 game in early 2014 and that the league is expected to announce the winner in May of that year.
The game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, and the pre-game events were widely considered a success. Indianapolis won praise for its cleanliness, friendliness and its compact downtown that made it easy for visitors to walk to events and restaurants.
QB Griffin III signs 4-year deal with Redskins
ASHBURN, Va. -- Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins ended their contract impasse Wednesday when the rookie quarterback signed a four-year, fully guaranteed deal worth $21.1 million. It also includes a club option for a fifth year.
Griffin's agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press that the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback agreed to terms and will be in Redskins rookie camp on Wednesday.
Griffin, the second overall pick in the draft out of Baylor, announced the news on Twitter, writing, "Well people....It's Time to go to Work!!! Off the unemployment line and oh yea HTTR!!!"
The latter stands for "Hail To The Redskins," the team's fight song.
Griffin will be on the field Wednesday for the third day of a five-day rookie camp. He wasn't considered a holdout because training camp doesn't officially begin until July 26.
The Redskins traded their first-round choices in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as well as their second-round pick this year to the St. Louis Rams on March 10 for the right to move up four spots to take Griffin.
Coach Mike Shanahan orchestrated the trade for Griffin, who threw for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns with just six interceptions and ran for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011 while leading Baylor to the Alamo Bowl.
Shanahan selected the 22-year-old Griffin the starter ahead of Grossman on the final day of rookie minicamp in May.
Washington made the big move after finishing last in the NFC East for a fourth straight year with a 5-11 record in 2011. That was the 16th season in the past 19 in which the Redskins didn't make the playoffs. During that span, they have started 21 quarterbacks. The most recent, Rex Grossman, committed 25 turnovers in 13 starts last season.