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NFL expands Rooney Rule to require two minority candidate interviews

Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of just four minority head coaches in the NFL. File Photo by John Sommers II /UPI
Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of just four minority head coaches in the NFL. File Photo by John Sommers II /UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- The NFL will change its Rooney Rule to require at least two interviews with external, minority candidates for future head coaching opportunities. The change will go into effect immediately.

League sources informed NFL Network of the Rooney Rule modifications Monday. The changes also include interviewing at least one minority candidate for any coordinator job and at least one minority candidate and/or a female candidate interview for all senior-level positions.

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Changes to the Rooney Rule do not require a vote from team owners. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in January that the league needed to modify the rule to encourage more diverse hires in front offices and for head coaching roles.

"Clearly, we are not where we want to be on this level," Goodell said. "We have a lot of work that's gone into not only the Rooney Rule, but our policies overall. It's clear we need to change and do something different."

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The three black coaches in the 32-team league are tied with 2013 for the fewest since the adoption of the Rooney Rule in 2003. Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera, who is Latino, is the only other minority coach in the league. Two minority general managers work in the NFL.

A record eight minority head coaches led NFL teams at the start of the 2017 season.

The Rooney Rule previously required every team with a vacancy at head coach or general manager to interview at least one or more diverse candidates. More than 20 franchises have hired minority head coaches in the Rooney Rule era.

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The NFL will also present a pair of resolutions to team owners Tuesday during a virtual league meeting. One of the resolutions would improve draft picks for teams that hire minority candidates.

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