Commissioner extends head coach interview requirements to senior posts

The NFL has broadened its "Rooney Rule" by requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate when seeking to fill its senior football operations positions.

Commissioner Roger Goodell informed teams by memo Monday of the new requirement, which received strong endorsement after being recommended at the NFL Spring Meeting last month. The change is expected to provide minorities more opportunities to fill each franchise's one senior football post, which varies in title from team to team.

The new requirement, however, will not apply to teams where the position is held by the owner or a member of the owner's family. It also won't apply in cases where there is a pre-existing contractual deal in place -- and filed with the NFL -- to promote a current staff member once the position opens.

Currently, there are five minorities filling top executive positions in the NFL: Rod Graves (Arizona), Martin Mayhew (Detroit), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore), Jerry Reese (New York Giants) and Rick Smith (Houston). The NFL's senior football executive, Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, is black.

The new rule builds on the requirement that applies to head-coaching vacancies that was established seven years ago by an NFL committee led by Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.

In his memo, Goodell also strongly urged -- but did not mandate -- teams to consider a diverse slate of candidates for other job openings in their football departments.

"The more thorough the search, the more likely clubs are to find the right candidates, and to be able to groom future leaders from within their organizations," Goodell said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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