NFL Umpire to reposition in offensive backfield in 2010

The NFL will permanently reposition umpires to the offensive backfield beginning with the upcoming 2010 season, in a move designed to protect its most vulnerable on-field officials, the league confirmed Sunday at the annual owners meetings.

Outgoing vice president of officiating Mike Pereira and his successor, Carl Johnson, revealed the plans Sunday in an interview. A league official added that the competition committee unanimously recommended the move last week but it had not been yet publicly announced.

The change does not require a vote of ownership and only commissioner Roger Goodell could reverse the decision.

Johnson said that umpires will be re-trained at the league’s offseason clinics and seminars because they will carry out their responsibilities from the offensive backfield, just opposite of the referee. Pereira and Johnson both said the umpires may have to be more athletic to accomplish their tasks.
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[URL]http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5016012

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