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NFL, refs close to deal; Eagles not letting scab officials upset focus

 Coach, players take high road about replacement officials.

The chaos in Seattle may have been a blessing in disguise after all. The blown call that ended Monday night's game between the Packers and Seahawks has been analyzed and dissected for almost three straight days.

Finally, early yesterday afternoon, a report surfaced that the NFL and its officials were close to completing a deal to end the lockout. According to an ESPN report, the regular refs could return in time to work Sunday's games. One source told ESPN that the last hurdle is "about a little more money."

If that last obstacle is overcome, players are ready to let out sighs of relief across the league. And the Eagles' locker room was no different.

"I was hoping that would end it," Jamar Chaney said of Monday's controversy. "It's just good that we can get the refs back to what they do best -- calling games -- and we can get back to what we do best, not worrying about that and just playing ball."

"It's great to have the regular refs back," Mike Vick said. "Nothing against the replacement officials, they did the best they could, hats off to them."

Coach Andy Reid hasn't said much on the issue all season. He has bit his lip at times -- like after last week's loss and confusing/questionable holding penalty he was forced to accept -- but he has refused to stir the pot. Reid has instructed his players not to let the replacement officials steal their focus.

"As coaches and players, you've got to take care of your business and make sure you're doing the right things and let that run its course there," Reid said. "These guys are trying as hard as they can possibly try."

 
 
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