Jim Core spent Thursday afternoon directing a cross country meet at Sawtooth Middle School in Meridian far from the bright lights and unrelenting scrutiny of an NFL field.
Its a little tri-meet between us and a couple other schools, said Core, a teacher and activities director at Sawtooth.
Core, an NFL replacement official during the preseason and first three weeks of the regular season, was scheduled to fly to Green Bay to work the Packers-Saints game Sunday. No doubt it would have been hostile territory for a replacement official, given the Packers loss to the Seahawks on Monday.
The NFL and the referees association reached an agreement Wednesday, and regular officials are back on the field this weekend.
The NFL asked the replacements to not discuss their roles at this point, hoping the controversy goes away.
Im going to respect that because its been a lot of fun, Core said. It was a nice little summer gig. It lasted a lot longer than I thought it was going to and those paychecks were nice.
Core, who officiates in the NAIA Frontier Conference and has called arenafootball2 games in Boise, was the head referee for four regular-season games. He worked the Giants-Cowboys and Raiders-Chargers in Week 1, the Giants-Bucs in Week 2 and the Chargers-Falcons in Week 3.
As head referee, Core made $3,500 per game.
The new agreement between the officials and the NFL calls for refs to be paid an average of $173,000 in 2013. That equals $10,176 per week over 17 weeks.
Core didnt miss much school time for his second job, often leaving on Saturday and returning Sunday night. He is not on the Frontier schedule for the next few weeks, but will soon return to calling those games.
And if NFL coaches and players werent on their best behavior toward the replacements, the experience did give Core some increased credibility with his middle-school students.
I know the kids paid a lot more attention to games I was working, he said. Kids had a little different level of respect.