Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday for his weekly discussion of all things NFL.
King agreed with the general assertion that the officials union did well in the new agreement with the league, but one victory for the NFL is the ability to quickly replace poorly rated referees.
"This is really something the NFL has wanted all along," King said. "The NFL has wanted to be able to bench underperforming officials during the year. The officials union allowed them to do it."
However, King noted that the officials got something with that concession.
"[The NFL] basically wanted them to give up the work rules that allowed them once they started a season that no matter what happened, they finished that season," King explained. "Here's the funny little compromise that happened. … Every NFL official now who starts a season in essence has a one-year guaranteed...
FOXBORO -- For a third straight day, Logan Mankins and Julian Edelman joined Aaron Hernandez as Patriots not spotted at practice. Mankins missed all three days with a hip issue while Julian Edelman is nursing a left hand injury that kept him out of the second half last Sunday night against Baltimore.
Also missing Friday at practice, which was held in sweats and shells in the rain on the main Gillette Stadium field, was defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick. He returned from an ankle injury on Thursday but was limited at practice. He was one of four Patriots not spotted during stretching on Friday. Defensive lineman Justin Francis (ankle) did return on Friday after missing the previous two days.
Defensive lineman Marcus Forston returned to the team on Friday after reportedly clearing waivers on Thursday. He was signed to the practice squad, taking the place of safety Chyl Quarles, who was not spotted at Friday's practice and was released....
The Celtics announced the signing of center Darko Milicic as well as free agent forwards Micah Downs and Rob Kurz.
The 7-foot Milicic, who averaged 4.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 16.3 minutes over 29 games for the Timberwolves last season, reportedly received a one-year, $1.2 million veteran minimum contact.
Meanwhile, Downs and Kurz are longshots for the final two roster spots, considering Celtics president Danny Ainge said recently he didn't expect any additions to the roster as Kris Joseph, Jamar Smith and Dionte Christmas battle for the 14th and 15th roster positions. The 6-foot-8 Downs averaged 11.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the Spanish ACB League's Assignia. The 6-foot-9 Kurz played in both Spain and France last season.
For more on the Celtics, including updates from media day, visit weei.com/celtics.
FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick wasted no time Friday explaining his release of tight end Kellen Winslow a day earlier. He opened his press conference explaining the move that leaves him with three active tight ends on the roster heading into this weekend's game in Buffalo against the Bills.
"I had a discussion [Thursday] with Kellen. We talked about several different things," Belichick said. "At the end of that discussion, I felt that it was best that we release Kellen for personal reasons. So that's what we did, and our roster is currently at 52 [players] and we'll just go from there."
The 29-year-old veteran of six NFL seasons made his response on Twitter.
I'm lookin forward to my next opportunity in the NFL and continuing to play the game I Love!
He then tweeted: I would like to express my gratitude to the Patriots organization and wish them a great season.
Winslow caught one pass...
Speaking on a conference call Friday, Jason Varitek clarified his newly appointed position as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, while also touching on any future aspirations.
Regarding the possibility of Varitek managing one day, the former catcher said, "If I answered it either way right now, I wouldn't be giving myself the best opportunity. I'm not in a position to make that a 'yes' or a 'no' at this point."
Varitek, who is with the rest of the front office in Fort Myers for organizational meetings, explained that his current role has a "huge gray area" and that he is simply going to "learn as much as I can."
"I'm going to be involved in a lot of different areas to learn a lot different things -- everything from meetings to player development to things along those lines," he added.
Varitek said he plans on participating some in catching instruction, starting with minor...
Patriots Safety Devin McCourty joined Glenn, Lou, and Christian, and talked about covering the Steelers Wide Receivers, and how he's helping the players who are in the AFC Championship for the first time prepare.
ProFootball Talk's Mike Florio told Glenn, Lou, and Christian that the Patriots have a quiet confidence that they can outscore the Steelers, since they've proven they have the ability.
Holley and Keefe check in with NFL Network's Heath Evans for some final thoughts on the Houston win and to look ahead at the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
"D-Wood" Joins the show to talk Brady vs. Rodgers and predicts a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.
Hour 3. Ben Volin shares a stat about Trump that will blow your mind. Mut wouldn't answer any questions about Trump's alleged sexual assaults.
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian enjoy the festivities ahead of the Inauguration, and give their predictions for Patriots-Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian love how Bill Belichick reacts to the plethora of stupid questions he receives from the Media during his Press Conferences.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.
We close out the work week with the best sound clips of the day.
We check in with hall of famer Michael Irvin to find out what happened to his Dallas Cowboys and look at the remaining playoff match-ups.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the Thursday K&C show featuring Jon Meterparel back in the saddle.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.More from this show
Hour 1. Gerry is going to Trump's Inauguration. Robert Kraft is still not happy with the NFL.More from this show
Hour 2. Ben Volin joins the show to discuss the Patriots game this weekend.More from this show
Kirk Minihane is joined by his long time nemesis Bart Hubbuch. Kirk and Bart discuss the incident between the two that led to Kirk being let go from Comcast and the long standing issue of deflategate. Bart annoyingly wouldn't get of his speaker phone. This is an explosive interview between two guys who admittedly dislike each other.More from this show
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.More from this show