NFL says former officials not fired

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL says nine former on-field officials have not been fired from part-time jobs.

Former NFL referee Jerry Markbreit says Friday that he and eight other retired officials were asked to hand in their NFL-issued laptops and had been fired. Markbreit says the league wanted the nine men to train replacement officials after the league locked out the current officials.

But the NFL says in a statement that the nine "are seasonal employees who have decided not to work at this time. We asked for their NFL-issued laptops back so that those who are working right now can use them."

The regular officials' contract ran out on May 31, and the NFL has been lining up replacements.