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NFL, Refs Planning Informal Talks, Says Report

The last time the NFL and the NFL Referees Association talked was Sept. 1. Since then, progress toward resolving the lockout has been at a standstill as the debate over the quality of work from the replacements takes center stage. There are faint signs of hope on the horizon, however, as the two sides will reportedly talk Sunday or Monday, says Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.

News of talks, even informal talks, comes the same day that the NFLPA released a statement urging the league to end the lockout and bring back the regular referees.

Player safety and competitiveness were at the heart of the Players Association memo, but another concern developing around the replacements is the ballooning length of games. The New York Times reported in a Sunday feature that the average length of games in Week 2 was 3 hours and 14 minutes, tied for the third-longest average length of games in 20 years. That comes as a concern for the league and its advertisers, which pay top dollar for a spot during the ratings bonanza that is an NFL broadcast.

The hope is that informal talks will then lead to the resumption of formal negotiations.

For more on the NFL referee lockout, stay with this story stream and check out SB Nation's NFL hub.