Tara Sullivan of the New Jersey Record
is reporting (via Twitter
), that the lockout of the NFL officials is expected to end tonight as the two sides are nearing an agreement on a new 8-year deal. She adds that the regular refs are expected to be on the field for the Thursday night game between the Browns and the Ravens.
[UPDATE] Mike Florio of NBC Sports' ProFootballTalk.com is now reporting that the deal is done and has been signed by both sides.
Florio also confirmed the earlier report that a crew of regular officials will work tonight's game in Baltimore.
The biggest issue between the two sides was the pension plan. In the new deal, the NFL has agreed to keep the existing pension plan in place for five years before switching to a 401(k)-type retirement package.
[UPDATE] Adam Schefter of ESPN heard from somebody in the negotiations that the deal is not signed yet. However, an NFL official told Mike Freeman of CBS "We're back. I'm working on Sunday."