NFL: Woman to be replacement ref

Updated: July 30, 2012, 5:28 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

The NFL has confirmed a woman will be among the group of referees used as replacements during the current lockout of NFL officials.

Shannon Eastin could be the woman. She worked the Arizona Cardinals Red and White game and was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the referees at an NFL training clinic.

A woman has never officiated an NFL game in an on-field capacity. Last year the NFL said there were several women in the pipeline. When Carl Johnson, the NFL's head of officials, was asked about the potential of adding a woman to the roster last year, he said it would happen soon.

"Our goal is to get the best people working this game," Johnson said.

Eastin has officiated college games for over a decade, most recently in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The league is not officially confirming individual referees, and is not making any replacements available to the media.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.