SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, told SI.com he wouldn’t rule out a players’ strike in support of locked out referees. John Madden told the KCBS morning crew that won’t happen.

“The players aren’t going to walk anywhere,” said the former coach. “They’re not going to miss games and paychecks and all that because of the officials. I think that’s kind of just talk.”

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Smith said the replacement refs are so poor they’re jeopardizing player safety.

“I think there are a lot of issues,” he said. “I don’t think safety is going to be one of them. (But) you have to admit it’s not going to be as good… It’s not a great situation, it’s really not.”

John said it’s looking like the season could start before an agreement is reached.

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“There probably has to be give and take from both ends, don’t you think? It’s not all what does the NFL do. What does the referees union do?”

The so-called ‘bubble’ players will learn their fate when the final roster cuts are announced after this weekend’s final pre-season games.

“That’s your last chance to evaluate,” Madden said. “If a (cut) player is close, the team will tell them ‘stay in shape because there’s a possibility we’ll bring you back or there’s a possibility we’ll put you on the practice squad.’ And most players will do that. There are cases where guys have been cut for like three straight years and then in the fourth year they make it.” (8:25)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

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