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NFL notebook: League reportedly hires female official

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The NFL has hired its first female official, Sarah Thomas, in a ground-breaking move, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Thomas, who became the first female to officiate an NCAA football game in 2007, has previously been a finalist for the NFL job. She has been working in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program.

The NFL did not confirm the report but also did not deny it.

“The 2015 roster of officials has not yet been finalized,” the league office said Friday in response to the report. “When it is, the new officials for 2015 and the entire roster will be announced.”

That announcement is expected next week, according to Pro Football Talk.

Thomas began working football games for Conference USA in 2007 and became the first woman to officiate a bowl game in 2009. She has worked some New Orleans Saints’ training camps and officiated an NFL preseason game last August.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded safety Dashon Goldson to the Washington Redskins for an undisclosed selection in the 2016 draft.

According to reports, the Bucs will receive a sixth-round draft pick in 2016. Tampa Bay also sent a 2016 seventh-round pick to the Redskins.

Goldson, 30, spent his first six years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers before signing a five-year, $41 million contract with Tampa Bay in 2013.

Goldson has played two seasons with Tampa Bay, starting all 27 games he played, totaling 151 tackles, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one tackle for loss and one interception.

The Buccaneers also signed tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi and re-signed fullback Jorvorskie Lane.

—Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins reportedly underwent hip surgery early in the offseason.

ESPN.com reported that Watkins had the procedure done sometime before the Super Bowl for the injury he suffered in a Week 13 win over the Cleveland Browns.

FOX Sports reported the procedure was an arthroscopic cleanup, and Watkins is expected to be ready for the start of the 2015 season.

The 2014 first-round pick played every game as a rookie, totaling 65 catches for 982 yards and six touchdowns.

—Cornerback P.J. Williams, a top draft prospect out of Florida State, was arrested early Friday morning for driving under the influence.

The arrest occurred in Tallahassee, Fla., at just after 3 a.m.

Williams, 21, was driving a rental car on a suspended license and was pulled over after making an illegal turn and crossing the center line several times, according to court records obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Williams, who told police he was an FSU football player and “just wanted to go home,” was booked into Leon County Jail and released later on $500 bond.

The arrest Friday came three days after Williams’ Pro Day at Florida State and could impact his draft stock — he was considered a possible late first-round pick.

—The Detroit Lions signed former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Josh Wilson to a one-year deal.

Wilson, 30, made 28 tackles and one interception in 16 games (four starts) for the Falcons in 2014. He also was a kick coverage player.

Wilson, 30, is entering his ninth year in the NFL. He has played for three other teams — the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins.

—The San Francisco 49ers signed linebacker Nick Bellore to a two-year contract.

The 25-year-old Bellore had spent the past four seasons with the New York Jets, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011 out of Central Michigan. He played in 64 games for the Jets and had 90 special-teams tackles, leading the team from 2011 to 2013.

—New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said he was “shocked” when he learned about the trade of tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle last month.

The Saints and Seahawks agreed to a blockbuster deal on March 10 that sent Graham to Seattle for center Max Unger.

“I think it shocked all of us,” Brees told WWL Radio in New Orleans on Thursday night. “A lot of crazy things happened, though, during the course of free agency for a lot of different teams. Unfortunately, you’ve been around long enough, you see some of these things happen at times. If anything it shows the confidence our organization has in the young players, especially the young skill players on offense, just feeling like those are guys that now have a chance to step up and fill a big void and fill a big role and continue to progress forward.”

—Offensive lineman Stephen Schilling will retire from the NFL despite an offer to play another season for the Seattle Seahawks.

Schilling, 26, said Thursday the decision was “just a personal choice for me at this time in my life.”

The loss of Schilling, who played three seasons for the San Diego Chargers before joining Seattle, hurts the Seahawks’ depth on the offensive line.

Schilling appeared in eight games for Seattle in 2014, starting three times, before he landed on injured reserve in November due to a knee injury. During his time in San Diego, he played 18 games and started twice, both times in 2011.


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