5 on-field officials opt out of NFL season due to COVID-19

Cassandra Negley
·2 min read

Five on-field officials have opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the league announced Friday. Two replay officials have also taken a leave of absence for the year, ESPN reported.

Officials had until Thursday to make their decision.

5 officials opt out of season

The league named the five officials to skip the season.

  • Jeff Bergman, line judge

  • Steve Freeman, back judge

  • Greg Gautreaux, field judge

  • Joe Larrew, field judge

  • Tony Steratore, back judge

Those who opt out will receive a $30,000 stipend and job guarantees for the 2021 season, as agreed to by the NFL and the NFL Referees Association.

With the two replay officials ESPN reports will opt out, the roster of officials currently has 114 on it. All of the officials are part-time employees after the league suspended the full-time employee program.

NFL will add officials to roster

The NFL said new officials will be hired and announced in the coming days. The league is expected to add around six more officials to ensure enough officials are available in case of illness or quarantine, per ESPN.

Officials huddle on the field during an NFL game.
Five on-field officials opted out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The season is scheduled to begin Sept. 10. There are no preseason games this year as agreed by the NFL and NFL Players Association because of the pandemic. Players already passed their deadline to opt out of the season with many taking the offer.

NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green said last month on-field officials are expected to wear a face covering and gloves during games. The average age of officials is is in the 50s, close to the high-risk range for COVID-19.

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