An NFL replacement official who worked the Seahawks-Cardinals season opener has reportedly officiated Seahawks regular season practices in the past and was paid by the team to do so.
It’s a conflict of interest that violates NFL rules, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer.
Jeff Sardorus, a former Pac-12 official, who worked as a field judge in the Seahawks’ 20-16 loss to Arizona, reportedly officiated at Seahawks regular season practices for the last three years, although not in 2012. The information comes from two sources close to the regular officials, who are currently being locked out by the league.
According to Breer, NFL officials are under strict rules to only work training camp practices, not practices during the season. Officials at training camp practices are paid by the league, not the teams, thereby avoiding any possible bias.
Those training camp practices and actual game days are the only times officials are allowed at team facilities, Breer reports.
The NFL did not immediately comment and a Seahawks spokesman reportedly responded, "Since Pete's arrival, we have had officials come in and work practice."
During the game with the Cardinals, the Seahawks were mistakenly given an extra timeout in the final minutes, but Yahoo Sports reports the blame for that falls on head referee Bruce Hermansen, not Sardorus.
It's the second case of possible conflict of interest involving replacement refs that the league has had to deal with in the past couple of days. A referee was pulled from working the New Orleans - Carolina game Sunday after it was discovered he is a devoted Saints fan.
Information compiled by KING 5's Travis Pittman