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Houston Texans

Texans happy to see referees return


The return of the refs was a hot topic at Reliant Stadium on Thursday.

After the NFL and the NFL Referees Association agreed Wednesday night to a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement, the game officials will return to the field for this weekend's games.

Seemingly every interview that Texans players and coaches did after practice on Thursday afternoon started with a question about the officials.

"I'm glad they got it done," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "I had confidence that they would, so it's good to have those guys back. They know our game. They know our team. They know our coaches, know our players. I'm glad that it got worked out. At the same time, I'd say I have a lot of respect for those guys that worked their tail off these past three weeks. They were put in a very tough situation and I think they did the best they possibly could, but (I'm) glad to see things get back to normal."

Kubiak said he has developed a "strong" relationship with many of the referees in his 27 years as a player or coach. That sentiment was echoed by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who's in his 36th season in the NFL.

"I think the guys that we had tried to do their best," Phillips said. "I know the guys that are coming in. I know a lot of them have been around the league for a long time. I'm familiar with a lot of these guys. I think they really do a good job with what they do. There is always going to be calls, always going to be things that we're going to think are not, but they do a good job overall, and they're professionals."

Reaction among Texans players also was uniformly positive.

"I'm happy for them, but hopefully we're in situations in games where we don't have to rely on the last play or anything, anyway," linebacker Brian Cushing said. "I think calls will be more consistent. I think the calls will be more consistent, more accurate. Obviously, the new refs aren't perfect, either. I think a lot of people forget that. For the most part, I think everyone is just pleased that they're back."

Defensive end Antonio Smith said having the regular officials back on the field will make him more confident as a player.

"With no disrespect, these refs are just, like, how we are in football," Smith said. "They're the best at what they do. They're the best of the best. Obviously, things are going to be better. Calls are going to be better. I think a lot of things people were getting away with is fixing to get nipped in the bud... I think it'll be less controversial calls than has been these past couple of weeks."

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