(Northland's NewsCenter) --- The NFL reached a deal late on Wednesday night with the NFL Referees' Association (NFLRA) to end the labor stoppage and bring the officials back immediately, that according to a report on nfl.com.
The eight-year agreement is the longest collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the league and its officials in NFL history, but it does still need to be ratified by the NFLRA.
That vote will happen sometime Friday or Saturday, according to the nfl.com report, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has temporarily lifted the lockout so regular officials can work Thursday night's game between Baltimore and Cleveland.
"We look forward to having the finest officials in sports back on the field, and I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion," Goodell said in a statement released by the league. "Now it's time to put the focus back on the teams and players where it belongs."
There are currently 121 officials as members of the NFLRA, and referee Ed Hochuli said he's expecting to work a game this weekend.
The league office on Thursday morning released the following terms of the agreement between the NFL and the NFLRA:
>> Officials' pay will increase from $149,000 in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, and it will also increase to $205,000 by 2019.
>> The current pension plan for officials will continue through 2016, unless the official has reached 20 years of service in the NFL.
>> The league will provide retirement benefits for officials beginning in 2017, which will include an annual league contribution of at least $18,000 per official and a partial match on any contribution that an official makes to a 401(k) account.
>> The NFL will have the option, beginning in 2013, to hire officials to work on a full-time, year-round basis. This will include on-the-field officials.
>> The NFL will retain the option to hire additional officials for training and development purposes, and those officials can be assigned to work NFL games.