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NFL will implement changes to Rooney Rule, extending teams’ interview requirements

Washington's Ron Rivera was the only minority head coach hired in the NFL this offseason. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The NFL will implement changes to its minority interviewing rule, widely known as the Rooney Rule, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s scheduled vote by franchise owners on a proposal by which a team could improve its draft position by hiring a minority head coach or general manager.

Under the modifications certain to take effect, a team with a head coaching vacancy will be required to interview at least two minority candidates from outside its organization, according to a person familiar with the matter. The existing requirement is to interview one such candidate.

The rule will also now require a team with a coordinator vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate. The Rooney Rule — named for late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the former chairman of the NFL’s workplace diversity committee — previously had been applied to coordinator openings only on an informal basis. The league had instructed teams to comply as a best practice, but there were no penalties for noncompliance.

NFL to propose teams could improve draft position by hiring minority coach or GM

Those changes do not require a vote by the owners, according to the person with knowledge of the league’s planning.

Owners are set to consider other proposals when they meet Tuesday via video conference. Under those proposals, a team would move up six spots in the third round of the draft for hiring a minority head coach. It would move up 10 spots in the third round for hiring a minority GM.

The changes and proposals come after only one minority head coach, Washington’s Ron Rivera, was hired this offseason. No African American head coaches were hired. Only four of the 32 teams have minority head coaches: Rivera of the Redskins, Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers and Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins’ Chris Grier and the Cleveland Browns’ Andrew Berry are the only African American general managers.

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