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NFL updates Rooney Rule, hiring cycle timeline

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league has been "open" when it comes to the WFT investigation, but Mike Florio and Chris Simms see the NFL's lack of transparency as a way to protect team owners.

The NFL is allowing an earlier start to the hiring cycle and tweaking the Rooney Rule in hopes of creating more opportunities for minority candidates.

The league sent a memo to team presidents, HR directors and counsel Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports.

Clubs with a head coaching opening now are allowed to conduct virtual interviews with candidates during the final two weeks of the regular season. The employer club must consent to the interview.

That is opposite of what the Bills had proposed. The Bills wanted the hiring cycle for head coaches pushed back, theoretically giving assistant coaches on playoff teams a better chance of securing a head coaching job. That proposal went nowhere.

The league, though, is trying to ensure minority candidates receive more consideration for head coaching, coordinator and General Manager jobs.

Only two minority head coaches -- Robert Saleh and David Culley -- and three minority General Managers -- Martin Mayhew, Brad Holmes and Terry Fontenot -- were hired in the last cycle.

Starting with this hiring cycle, clubs must now interview two external minority candidates for all G.M. and coordinator jobs. That mirrors the requirement for head coach hirings.

In addition, teams must conduct at least one in-person interview with a minority candidate for all head coaching and General Manager openings.