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It’s unclear whether all teams are complying with enhanced Rooney Rule

New Orleans Saints v St. Louis Rams

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 8: St. Louis Rams Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams watches warmups prior to preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on August 8, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

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The NFL has indeed expanded the Rooney Rule to apply to coordinator positions. It’s unclear whether teams are complying.

While not a formal requirement, it’s a “recommended best practice” that teams “consider a diverse group of candidates” when hiring a coordinator. The memo to the teams explaining the enhancement requested that the teams “make an effort to interview a diverse slate of candidates before selecting a new coordinator.” It also encouraged teams “to consider identifying diverse candidates for key assistant coach positions, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.”

Whether teams are complying isn’t clear, because not every team is applying transparency to the process of searching for coordinators. Washington, which has been announcing its interviews for the position of defensive coordinator, has interviewed at least one minority candidate. The Browns, who hired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to replace Ray Horton, have not responded to an inquiry from PFT regarding whether one or more minority candidates were considered. (The NFL referred PFT to the Browns on the question of whether the search complied with the “recommended best practice.”)

To their credit, the Browns have made multiple minority hires in recent years, from coach Hue Jackson to executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown to former G.M. Ray Farmer to both of the key coordinators hired with Jackson: Pep Hamilton and Ray Horton. But that doesn’t provide the Browns with a license to ignore the Rooney Rule in ant future decisions.

Again, the expansion of the rule to coordinator hires is not a requirement; it’s merely a best practice. If teams aren’t complying, they won’t be punished. It doesn’t mean that the failure to comply should go unmentioned.