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Fritz Pollard Alliance: Rooney Rule needs to be expanded

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with the NFL in oversight and proactive measures for minority hiring, sent a letter Tuesday morning to the NFL suggesting that the Rooney Rule be expanded to cover offensive and defensive coordinators as well as assistant head coaches. Currently, the rule requires teams to interview minorities for head coaching and general manager vacancies.

This suggestion by the Fritz Pollard Alliance comes after none of the eight head coaching jobs or seven general manager jobs went to minorities.

"We believe that for the Rule to be as effective as it can be, it must be expanded to apply to offensive and defensive coordinators and assistant head coaches as well," read the Alliances' letter, which was sent to the NFL's human resources and legal departments. "We believe pipeline issues are a part of the reason we've seen a reduction in head coaches of color over the past few years, and this expansion will diversify the head coaching pipeline."

The letter, obtained by NFL Network and NFL.com, was signed and drafted by executive director John Wooten and chairman Harry Carson.

A key reason cited for the expansion is that the Fritz Pollard Alliance does not believe enough minorities have been given opportunities as coordinators -- especially those that call plays -- and that if that pipeline was expanded, more deserving candidates could be given opportunities by teams.

Asked to comment on the Alliance's letter Tuesday morning, the NFL referred to its statement on the Rooney Rule from last Friday.

"While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity," the league said at the time.

"The Rooney Rule has been a valuable tool in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions. We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results. We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful."

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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