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Browns vs. Ravens: NFL, refs end lockout in advance of Thursday night's game

Regular NFL officials will return to the field on Thursday night for the Week 4 matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, much to the delight of fans and players everywhere.

Larry French - Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens will meet in a prime time matchup on Thursday Night Football, and in a brilliant development the regular NFL officials that fans and players know and love(?) will be back on the field to officiate the game. In fact, the NFL has announced the specific assignments for the crew of the game:

Gene Steratore, beginning his 10th season in the NFL, is the referee and will lead the seven-man crew, which consists of umpire Bill Schuster (13 seasons in NFL), head linesman Wayne Mackie (six seasons), line judge Jeff Seeman (11 seasons), field judge Bob Waggoner (16 seasons), side judge Jimmy De Bell (four seasons), and back judge Greg Steed (10 seasons).

After a debacle with replacement referees on Monday Night Football in the contest between the Seahawks and Packers, the league and the referee's association came to an agreement after a round of marathon negotiations. Now NFL fans will get experienced and battle-tested refs back on the field for the remainder of the season. The focus can finally turn back to where it should always be: the players.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.