NEW YORK - The NFL and its locked-out officials got nowhere in negotiations Tuesday, despite facing a midweek deadline to reach a deal or go into the regular season with the replacements who worked last week's exhibition games.
After saying last weekend that there was a good chance of a deal, hopes seemed to be fading. Both sides will meet again Wednesday.
Tom Condon, the chief negotiator for NFL Referees Association, wouldn't even describe Tuesday's talks as "negotiations" between two sides that are from 50-75 percent apart in their salary proposals.
The same opinion came from the NFL.
"I'm not optimistic because of how far apart I know we are," Dallas owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday. "I'm disappointed, but I'm also very pleased with how the officials that are coming in performed this past weekend. We've had a chance as a league to review each performance and overall it was outstanding."
Jeff Pash, the chief negotiator for the NFL, said Sunday that unless there was a deal in place by "late Wednesday or early Thursday," the league would continue the lockout. Officials would have to know by then what games they were to do and make travel plans.
The NFL also canceled its annual meeting of referees, downfield officials (field judges, side judges and back judges) and replay officials, scheduled for Friday in Dallas. That meeting always has been held two days before the season opens.
Darrell Green has always said that his football career is secondary to his family, his church and his community. He admits that he unashamedly built his celebrity status so he could use it to help his nonprofit foundation.
It was no surprise, then, when Green launched his farewell tour Tuesday on an upbeat note, with more talk about his exciting future than his glorious past.
"I learned a long time ago that this is just a job, a means to an end," Green said. "Now it's time for the real deal."
Green formally announced that he will retire at the end of the season, his team record 19th with the Washington Redskins. He used the occasion to ask fans to give money to his foundation, while those around him mourned the end of the career of the rare professional athlete who seized the mantle of role model and lived it to near perfection.
More than 32 months after a broken ankle nearly ended his career, Garrison Hearst will start for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in the season opener against Atlanta.
Hearst, a former Pro Bowler who rushed for 4,509 yards with three teams from 1995-98, hasn't played since a January 1999 playoff game in which he broke his left leg just above the ankle.
On Tuesday night, coach Steve Mariucci confirmed what he has said since training camp began: If the former Georgia and Lincoln County star were healthy for the season opener, he would regain the starting role he held in 1998.
"We'll start with Garrison, and we'll use (rookie) Kevan Barlow quite a bit also," Mariucci said. "Our plan is to mix everybody into the lineup."
HOCKEY: The Augusta Lynx received the rights to Tyson Holly and Mathieu Cusson from the Pensacola Ice Pilots on Tuesday to complete a previous trade.
Cusson, a forward, scored four goals and had 14 assists in 45 games last season with Pensacola. He had 33 goals and 34 assists with the Saskatoon Blades prior to joining the Ice Blades.
Holly split time between Pensacola and New Orleans last season, tallying 14 goals and 17 assists in 64 games.
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