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Black ex-coaches say NFL's Rooney Rule is broken

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Black ex-coaches say NFL's Rooney Rule is broken

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Three black former NFL head coaches say the league needs to rethink its Rooney Rule for promoting minority hiring after 15 top vacancies - eight head coaching jobs and seven general manager positions - were all filled by white candidates since the regular season ended a month ago.

``I know the concept is good and something we need to do,'' said Tony Dungy, who was with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2006 season when he became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. ``Obviously, it's not working the way it should.''

The Rooney Rule, implemented in 2003, was named for Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who steadfastly pushed the league to require every team to interview at least one minority candidate every time there is a coaching or general manager opening.

Before the rule went into effect, the NFL had had only six minority head coaches in more than 80 years. Since it has been in place, 12 have been hired.

But none were hired this year to replace the two black coaches who were fired - Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Lovie Smith in Chicago - and the one fired black GM, Rod Graves in Arizona.

Herm Edwards, former coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs and now an ESPN analyst, has called for not only revising the rule but perhaps even changing its name.

``When you use the Rooney Rule and not correctly, you put a little bit of a bad mark on Mr. Rooney's name, and that is not good,'' Edwards said Wednesday. ``If it keeps going this way, we might need to take his name off the rule. It is not being used in the right manner that Mr. Rooney meant it to be.''

Robert Gulliver, the NFL's executive vice president of human resources, said that the hiring results were ``disappointing'' and that he expects to make revisions in the rule.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches and front-office, scouting and game-day NFL officials, wants the Rooney Rule expanded to apply to coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.

Unlike Dungy and Edwards, Jim Caldwell is still coaching, albeit as an assistant. Not only that, his team, the Baltimore Ravens, will play the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl. But he wasn't even invited to interview for one of the eight vacant coaching jobs, though having a team in the playoffs can be a hindrance to such opportunities.

Fired as the Colts' coach following the 2011 season, Caldwell joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach. When head coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in December, Caldwell was promoted. With his guidance, Baltimore's offense responded.

Caldwell is no stranger to the Super Bowl, having led the Colts there three years ago after replacing the retired Dungy. It was only after Peyton Manning was sidelined for the 2011 season that Caldwell was fired.

``It has been a great rule and it has worked in the past,'' he 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.''

Caldwell added: ``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.''

Dungy said he believes the entire system is broken. He cited 21 head coaching jobs changing in a three-year span, which he said indicates owners are making the wrong hires regardless of race.

Edwards said he wonders whether minority candidates get interviewed only to satisfy the rule, even though they have no chance of getting the job. He and Dungy noted that the last black head coach hiring - other than coaches promoted from within, like Leslie Frazier, Raheem Morris, Mike Singletary, Hue Jackson and Crennel - was Mike Tomlin by Pittsburgh, in 2007.

There are currently four minority head coaches: Tomlin, Frazier in Minnesota, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Ron Rivera in Carolina. Minority general managers include Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome, Detroit's Martin Mayhew, Houston's Rick Smith, the New York Giants' Jerry Reese and Oakland's Reggie McKenzie.

``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,'' he said.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh says he's interested in bringing Anquan Boldin back

Ravens coach John Harbaugh says he's interested in bringing Anquan Boldin back

By: Lisa Redmond (@LisaARedmond) 

John Harbaugh would like to be reunited with one of his star players from Super Bowl XLVII.

During a presser at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona, coach Harbaugh mentioned that he would love to have former Ravens wide reciever Anquan Boldin back on the team. The two requirements to make this happen: Boldin having an interest and GM Ozzie Newsome making it work. 

Via ESPN 

"I know he loved it in Baltimore, and I loved him in Baltimore," Harbaugh said. "Didn't want him to have to leave when it happened. That's just the way it all worked out. But I'd be for it."

Boldin is currently an unrestricted free agent after signing only a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions this past year. The 36-year-old played with the Ravens for three seasons and was a staple in them bringing the Lombardy Trophy back to Baltimore during the 2012-2013 season. He was ultimately traded to John's brother, Jim, and the 49ers because he did not want to take a pay cut. 

Even though he is 36-years-old, Harbaugh feels he could still be a contending player.

"I will say this: I do believe he can still play at the highest level. I think his ability and skills are such that he's not going to drop off the edge just because of how he plays."

With Steve Smtih Sr. retiring this past season, they are looking to add one more veteran receiver to the likes of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.

"I've got to be careful in how I answer that because, of course, we are. Of course, I am. I'm thinking about it every day. Just like I'm thinking about [several other open spots on the roster]," Harbaugh said. 

The team has several options when it comes to finding another wide receiver. There is, of course, the draft which will bring top prospects, a trade with another team or signing who've been cut. 

If a reunion with Boldin were to happen, it most likely wouldn't take place until after May 9. Boldin is an unrestricted free agent, but signing with the Ravens means they would lose a compensatory pick during the next draft and both coach Harbaugh and Ravens president Dick Cass have acknowledged that. 

When it comes to having chemistry with your QB, that shouldn't be a problem for Boldin and Flacco. While he was with the Ravens, Boldin had 186 receptions, 2,645 total yards, and 14 touchdowns.

MORE RAVENS: RAVENS WANTED TORREY SMITH BACK 

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Ravens wanted to bring back wide receiver Torrey Smith this off-season

Ravens wanted to bring back wide receiver Torrey Smith this off-season

BY TYLER BYRUM - @theTylerByrum

For years, Torrey Smith was a fan favorite wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. He is a local player that not only helped the Ravens win their Super Bowl in 2012, but went to Maryland to play college ball.

This past off-season the Baltimore Ravens were interested in bringing him back. 

On Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast, John Harbaugh revealed the team's plan of bringing back the wide receiver who accumulated over 3,500 receiving yards in four seasons with the team. Instead, Smith signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for a middle tier contract. 

Last season, the 28-year-old only brought in 267 yards in the 12 games that he played with the San Francisco 49ers. Smith left the Ravens after the 49ers offered him a five-year deal that he could not turn down.

With Steve Smith Sr. retiring at the end of this season, it almost felt like a perfect fit as the Ravens best option at the No. 2 wide receiver position is Breshad Perriman.

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