I've said this a time or two before but Eric Winston is one of the best additions to the Kansas City Chiefs locker room. Not only is he a very good player on the field but off the field, talking to the media, he's one of the best.
Some pro athletes today are afraid of saying the wrong thing so they don't say anything at all. (Anyone on the Chiefs like that?) Others, like Winston, are able to give great answers that explain the player perspective of potentially touchy situations.
I really liked Winston's perspective on the ref lockout ending and bringing the real referees back.
"The replacements, you've got to tip your hat to them in the sense of I think they tried as hard as they can," Winston said, via comments sent out by the Chiefs. "I think they were. I never for one moment went out there and said these guys are just out there because they got picked and they're just having a good time. I think they were really trying hard to be as good of refs as possible, so you've got to tip your hat to them that way.
"But obviously, the professional refs are pros for a reason, because they're like us, they're the best ones at this gameat what they do and there's a reason for it. I think everyone unfortunately realized that over these last three weeks, that they are the best guys at what they do and that they're paid for a reason and that they're out there for a reason. They know what they're doing and they know their rules probably betterthan anybody, and they know how to call it and they know how to apply them to a game.
"I think it'll be fun. I think the flow of the game will certainly come back. I think the rhythm of what we're used to, what they're used to will come back. That doesn't mean they're not going to kick a few calls. I'm sure they are [going to], but overall, I think that the big calls will be right and I think the calls that we expect to be called will be there."
I don't have much else to add. Just thought this first-hand perspective from the players was really good.
More replacement ref stuff -- including an ode to Ed Hochuli -- can be found in this playlist.