Commissioner Roger Goodell told fans Friday ‘‘you deserve better’’ than games worked by replacement officials.
In an open letter released by the league, a day after the regular officials returned to the field, Goodell said: ‘‘I regret we were not able to secure an agreement sooner in the process and avoid the unfortunate distractions to the game.’’
The officials were locked out in June with the sides unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. Replacements were used for three weeks to increasing criticism from players, coaches, and fans. The dispute reached deafening levels when a missed call cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.
Goodell tells fans the new contract will improve officiating and commends the replacements for their dedication.
Also Friday, Goodell met with Browns linebacker Scott Fujita about his suspension in the Saints’ bounty case that was temporarily lifted earlier this month.
A shot at Ravens
The regular refs may have missed a few things in their first game back.
Browns safety Ray Ventrone said the Ravens were dirty birds.
‘‘I know that they were playing dirty on offense,’’ Ventrone said as Cleveland’s players regrouped after a 23-16 loss in Baltimore. ‘‘Watch the film, man. There was some dirty stuff going on.’’
Thursday night’s prime-time game featured the return of the regular officials.
However, Ventrone said the Ravens got away with some ‘‘extracurricular stuff.’’
‘‘There was just stuff that was happening after the play, during the play,’’ said Ventrone. “There was some unnecessary stuff that was happening to our defensive backs specifically.’’
More costly hits
Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Steelers safety Ryan Mundy each were fined $21,000 by the NFL for flagrant hits. Tulloch was docked for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tennessee tight end Craig Stevens. Mundy’s hit on Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey resulted in his fine. Heyward-Bey was taken from the field on a stretcher and hospitalized with a concussion and a neck strain . . . The Jaguars announced that Sunday’s home game against Cincinnati will be the last one in which teal serves as the team’s primary jersey color. Black will be the primary color for home games beginning Oct. 7 against Chicago.
Ryan not giving up Rex Ryan has not dashed his Super Bowl hopes — or the chance Darrelle Revis will be there on the field with the New York Jets this season. Revis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Miami last Sunday, but the Jets will wait until after the All-Pro cornerback has surgery in a few weeks to decide on his fate . . . Titans middle linebacker Colin McCarthy will miss a third straight game with a sprained right ankle.