Fourteen former NFL players and one current player are heading to Baltimore for this weekend’s 2015 Legends Officiating Development Program (LODP) and the Tom Beard Football Officials Clinic.
“The transition of our former players into officiating is a natural fit,” said Matt Birk, the NFL’s director of football development. “Not only do our players have high football intelligence, but they understand the game from multiple perspectives.
“We need to encourage more former players to explore officiating as a way to stay involved in football and, quite possibly, as a career.”
Matt Birk, NFL director of football development
The weekend’s events will feature a keynote address from Ron Baynes, NFL officiating recruiting and scouting coordinator, former officiating supervisor and 15-year NFL official.
Several former players who participated in the 2013 and 2014 events will be co-hosts for the March 12–15 sessions. They include Charles Ali, Rick DeMulling, Nate Jones, Terry Killens, William Thomas and Landon Trusty, who together have officiated in more than 300 football games at levels from youth leagues to NCAA Division I.
Killens is entering his fifth year as an official and was selected to work in the American Athletic Conference for the 2015 season.
After only two seasons as an official, Jones has been offered a position in Conference USA. “My experience with the NFL Officiating Development program has been nothing short of outstanding,” he said. “I’ve made tremendous strides in my first two years by taking full advantage of the resources at my disposal. I can say without a doubt this has been my best career decision since I retired from the league.”
Representatives of NFL Player Engagement, all former players themselves, will also be on hand to talk with participants. Keith Elias, a transition coach; Dwight Hollier, the director of transition and clinical services; and James Thrash, the director of player engagement, will discuss how NFL Player Engagement can help players make a smooth transition to life off the field.
The Tom Beard Clinic includes classroom and on-field instruction, breakouts by position group and on-field scrimmage work. Current and former officials and officiating supervisors from all levels of football will serve as instructors, including Terry McAulay, referee for Super Bowl XLVIII, and Bob Waggoner, field judge for Super Bowl XLIX.
“The challenge is always to bring the most knowledgeable and athletic officials to the field and empower them with consistency and clarity in our development efforts,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations.
“We encourage former players who want to remain in the game by officiating, as they have built-in knowledge of the game and have seen it at game speed, which gives them a great foundation to continue serving the sport they love.”
Representatives from NFL Player Engagement and the NFL Football Officiating Academy selected the following players to participate in the 2015 Legends Officiating Development Program and Tom Beard Football Officials clinics:
* Currently in the NFL