No talks scheduled between NFL, referees union

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Two days before the NFL season kicks off, no talks are scheduled between the league and the locked-out on-field officials.

Both sides met for three days last week, but did not reach an agreement to end the three-month-old lockout. Replacement officials who worked the preseason games will be officiate the first week of the season, beginning Wednesday night with the Cowboys at the Giants.

The league and the NFL Referees Association, which covers more than 120 on-field officials, are at odds over salary, retirement benefits and operational issues.

BEARS: Linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to practice Monday for the first time since July 31, hoping to play in Sunday’s season opener.

Coach Lovie Smith said the eight-time Pro Bowl player looked good considering he had arthroscopic surgery to his left knee Aug. 14.

JAGUARS: Maurice Jones-Drew will begin the season much like he did his NFL career: as a backup and third-down running back.

Coach Mike Mularkey said he expects Jones-Drew to rotate in on third downs Sunday at Minnesota. Mularkey said the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011 also will “get a series” in place of starter Rashad Jennings.

Jones-Drew ended his 38-day holdout on Sunday.

BROWNS: Rookie running back Trent Richardson is practicing for the first time since undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 9, raising the likelihood the former Alabama star will play in Sunday’s season opener against Philadelphia.

COLTS: Receiver Austin Collie (concussion) was cleared to practice and is expected to play in Sunday’s season opener at Chicago.


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