BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - NFL executive Troy Vincent tells The Associated Press he expects the league to hire as many as 17 full-time officials for the start of next season.
The additions are allowed under the collective bargaining agreement and would increase the size of officiating crews from seven to eight, the league's vice president of football operations said during a visit to Buffalo on Thursday.
Vincent says hiring full-time officials and discussions to expand replay reviews top the agenda of the NFL's competition committee, which is scheduled to meet in February following the Super Bowl.
Currently, NFL officiating crews are part-time staff and hold jobs outside of football.
Vincent says full-time officials would allow the NFL to spend more time training them.
What has yet to be decided is where the additional official would line up on the field. One proposal is to serve as a middle sideline judge to monitor interior defensive line penalties. Another is to oversee hits to the quarterback.