Red Zone

Chiefs’ Crennel welcomes back NFL’s regular refs

Through the lockout of the NFL’s regular referees, Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has refused to discuss the issue in depth, consistently saying he was more concerned about the Chiefs and their preparations for the upcoming game.

He didn’t change his stance today now that the lockout is over and regular referees will return to work in time for tonight’s Ravens-Browns game and for the Chiefs’ next game on Sunday against San Diego at Arrowhead Stadium. But neither could he hide his satisfaction over the issue.

“Those guys have good experience,” Crennel said of the NFL’s officials. “They do a good job at what they do so having those guys back will be good.

“They will be more definitive about the calls they make.”

The Chiefs have yet to hear which crew will work Sunday’s game. But the Chiefs have a familiarity with all of them and can prepare for Sunday’s game accordingly.

That’s in contrast with the replacement referees, who were new to the NFL and unknown to the Chiefs and other teams.

“Some refs have a style or have a philosophy but the biggest thing is the crew overall. What does that crew call? What are they looking for? They all have a little bit of a track record about the calls they make,” Crennel said.

Crennel’s players were delighted to hear the news of the settlement.

“Thank God,” said offensive tackle Eric Winston. “The replacements, you have to tip your hat to them in a sense that they tried as hard as they can. I never for one moment went out there and said these guys are out here just because they got picked and are having a good time. I think they were really trying hard to be as good as refs as possible.

“But obviously the professional refs are pros for a reason. They’re like us. They’re the best ones at this game at what they do, and there’s a reason. Everyone, unfortunately, realized that over these last three weeks, that they are the best guys at what they do, and they’re paid for a reason. They know what they’re doing, they know the rules better than anybody. They know how to call them and know how to apply them to a game.”

Linebacker Derrick Johnson said, “at the end of the day, the refs aren’t going to win or lose the game …” until he remembered the finish of the Seattle-Green Bay, which was the tipping point to ending the lockout.

“What happened in Seattle is probably not going to happen again,” Johnson said. “We’re glad they got the deal done. We weren’t on our knees praying about them coming back. They’re back, and the game will go much smoother.

“That’s not our focus. Our focus is doing what we do, winning the game …”