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Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards urge Rooney Rule reform


Former NFL coaches Herm Edwards and Tony Dungy believe there need to be adjustments to the Rooney Rule, which requires franchises to interview one minority candidate when hiring a new coach or general manager. Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell agrees, and the NFL admits there's work to do.

The rule was put in place in 2003 to promote diversity in those positions. There were only six minority head coaches in more than 80 years before the rule was created. There have been 12 hired since, but none for the eight coaching positions or the seven general manager openings after the 2012 regular season.

"I know the concept is good and something we need to do," Dungy, who was the first black coach to win a Super Bowl, told The Associated Press. "Obviously, it's not working the way it should."

There are four minority coaches in the league right now and five general managers. The coaches are Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Leslie Frazier (Vikings) and Ron Rivera (Panthers). Martin Mayhew (Lions), Rick Smith (Texans), Jerry Reese (Giants), Reggie McKenzie (Raiders) and Ozzie Newsome (Ravens) are the general managers.

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"I am not saying you have to hire a minority candidate. No one is saying that," Edwards said. "I am saying you can't be blinded. It can't be, 'Who is the guy to interview to get this out of the way?'

"The problem I have is you don't really abide by the Rooney Rule the correct way."

Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, after whom the rule is named, believes this year was a fluke but added there needs to be better training to create better candidates. He also would like to see something in place for coordinators.

"It has been a great rule and it has worked in the past," Caldwell said. "Just like anything else, you have to, after a certain period of time, revisit it and take a look and see if it needs a little tweaking. I think it does in this particular case.

"That's one of the reasons that the Rooney Rule was put in place, because you're trying to avoid those situations, if possible. We're at that stage where guys like Lovie Smith, who didn't get an opportunity, who had won and been very successful previously ... obviously, there's some concern there, and that's why I think the rule is going to be revisited."

This has been one of the most talked-about topics since the regular season ended. We'll see if there's an actual change, but even successful former coaches like Edwards and Dungy acknowledge the current flaws.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.


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