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NFL expects to hire female officials soon 08.14.11 at 12:24 pm ET
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The position of NFL referee has been completely exclusive to men in the past, but Carl Johnson, the league’s vice president of officiating, told ESPN.com that he plans to hire a female official in the near future.

“We have some in our pipeline, and I expect we’ll see it soon,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to get the best people working this game.”

Sarah Johnson and Terri Valenti would appear to be the most likely candidates. Johnson is a Conference USA referee and was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, and Valenti became the first female referee in pro football at a UFL game last year.

“Any professional sport is at the highest level, and if they asked me to officiate at that level, I would not turn them down,” Thomas said.

Read More: Carl Johnson, NFL, Rumor Mill, Sarah Johnson