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Mike Tomlin: This was disappointing hiring cycle for minorities

Pittsburgh Steelers v Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 09: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 9, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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Mike Tomlin, who is entering his 13th season with the Steelers, now is one of only three African-American head coaches in the league. Anthony Lynn and new Dolphins coach Brian Flores are the others.

Since Dan Rooney -- the namesake of the Rooney Rule -- died two years ago this month, NFL teams have made 15 head coaching hires with Flores and Steve Wilks the only African-Americans. Wilks lasted only one season in Arizona.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves in that regard,” Tomlin said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It was a disappointing hiring cycle for someone who watches it like I do, knowing some of the deserving men I do who I thought should have gotten an opportunity and didn’t. But we’ll continue to work and fight for equality and opportunity.”

The league adopted the Rooney Rule in 2003, requiring teams hiring head coaches to interview at least one minority candidate. In 2009, the NFL expanded it to include openings for General Manager positions.

“I think that’s what the Rooney Rule speaks to, equality within the opportunity,” Tomlin said. “We’ll continue to fight for that, not only in terms of head coaching searches, but maybe other areas of the profession as well. I know there’s some discussions in the offseason regarding some of that.”