Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, is abandoning his post for a network television position, according to a league memo obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and his colleague Aditi Kinkhabwala.

NFL VP Dean Blandino Leaving For Network TV Job

Blandino, 45, is also resigning to spend more time with his family, which includes young children.

No successor has yet been named for Blandino, who will stay with the NFL until May 31. The league notified all 32 teams of the development on Friday morning.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, sources say Blandino is expected to take a broadcasting opportunity as a rules analyst, and has already talked to several networks.

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“Dean has done an outstanding job leading our officiating staff,” Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement Friday. “He has been a trusted colleague and friend to so many of us around the league. Dean’s knowledge of the playing rules, his tireless commitment to improving the quality of NFL officiating and his unquestioned dedication to his job has earned him the respect of the entire football community.”

Blandino started in the NFL as an intern, having joined the league in 1994, and worked his way up the ranks. He played a major role in the introduction of instant replay, and oversaw two Super Bowls and conference championship games. Blandino also worked under longtime NFL officiating director Mike Pereira.

Blandino left the NFL in 2009 to form his own company, returned in 2012 and succeeded Carl Johnson as chief of officiating the next year.

During his three years away from the league, Blandino launched “Under the Hood,” which provided training and evaluation for replay officials. His clients included the NFL and college conferences like the Big Ten, Mid-American, Pac-12, Big 12, and Mountain West. Part of Blandino’s job involved directing instant replay clinics for the NFL and NCAA and served as a liaison to the NFL’s competition committee.

The NFL approved completely centralize replay review at the Annual League Meeting of team owners in March, so Blandino’s departure comes at a crucial moment.

This rule change will allow the NFL office to overtake replay situations in an attempt to streamline the pace of play and deliver a more consistent approach to plays. Other officiating changes the league has made in recent years include clarifications to the catch rule, the implementation of a two-strike rule for personal fouls, and just this year, a rule mandating automatic ejections for players after one flagrant hit to the head.

Kinkhabwala stated on Good Morning Football that two current referees said they would be interested in replacing Blandino, although nothing has been made official yet.

Blandino also made weekly television appearances and social media updates on crucial calls referees made each week. One of the major moves his officiating department made was the hiring of line judge Sarah Thomas as the first full-time female NFL official in 2015.

Among the other officiating changes Blandino helped implement were the elimination of chop blocks and lowering the number of kickoff returns — football’s most dangerous rule statistically — by moving up the kickoff point.

Blandino’s resignation comes two days after the city of St. Louis filed a lawsuit of more than $1 billion against the NFL for the relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles. The Rams moved just last year from Missouri back to California, where they originally played from their founding in 1936 to the end of the 1994 season.

St. Louis County and the region’s sports authority joined the city in the lawsuit. St. Louis alleges the NFL violated its own relocation rules and enriched itself at the expense of the city. The city is now seeking restitution for unspecified but “extensive” damages, though the NFL has said there is “no legitimate basis” for the claims of the suit. A spokesman for the league, Brian McCarthy, said the NFL worked diligently with local and state officials in a process he calls “honest and fair.”

“In the years leading up to the Rams relocation request, Rams officials decided to move the team and confidentially determined that they would be interested in exploiting any opportunity to do so,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that since St. Louis officials weren’t aware a move was made official, they spent over $17 million dollars developing plans for a new riverfront stadium project designed to keep the Rams in the city.

Stan Kroenke, a real estate billionaire and Missouri native, was minority owner of the Rams until acquiring them outright in 2010, two years after longtime majority owner Georgia Frontiere died. Kroenke purchased land for a stadium in Inglewood, California in February 2014.

The Chargers, who earlier this year made official their own move to Los Angeles, will share a new stadium with the Rams that is scheduled to open in Inglewood in 2019. At the Annual League Meeting in March, 31 of 32 NFL team owners also voted to approve the Oakland Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas.

Charges in the St. Louis lawsuit include breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation and business interference.

Among other damages cited by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were city and county bond obligations totaling $360 million, the loss of more than $100 million in net proceeds, $30 million for the installation of a new playing surface and other renovations, the loss of state revenue of more than $15 million and about $7.5 million in lost property taxes.

PHOENIX, AZ – JANUARY 29: NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino attends the Super Bowl XLIX Football Operations Press Conference on January 29, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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