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Rooney Rule to be examined after Redskins' Ron Rivera the only minority head coach hired

Rooney Rule to be examined after Redskins' Ron Rivera the only minority head coach hired

The Rooney Rule isn’t working as intended. As a result, the NFL’s diversity committee will be examining the league’s practices of hiring head coaches to see what can be done to improve minority hiring, Steelers president Art Rooney II said in an interview Tuesday with NFL Network’s Steve Wyche. 

Redskins coach Ron Rivera is the only minority of five new head coaches hired this offseason. It marks the second straight hiring cycle that just one coach of color was hired -- the Dolphins hired Brian Flores after the 2018 season. 

"I think where we are right now is not where we want to be, not where we need to be," Rooney said. "We need to take a step back and look at what's happening with our hiring processes. The first thing we'll do as part of our diversity committee is really review this past season's hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owners side, management’s side as well as the people that were interviewed.” 


Joining the Redskins in the search for a head coach this winter was the Panthers, Browns, Cowboys and Giants. The Panthers hired Matt Rhule away from his position as head coach at Baylor. The Browns hired Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski. The Cowboys hired former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who was out of the league this season after being fired following the 2018 season. And the Giants hired Patriots wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator Joe Judge. 

The Rooney Rule, named after Art Rooney’s late father Dan Rooney, is a policy the NFL adopted in 2003 requiring every team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach openings. It was expanded in 2009 to include general manager and equivalent front office jobs. 

Currently, there are four head coaches of color in the NFL -- Rivera, Flores, the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin -- and Miami’s Chris Grier is the only GM of color. 

“The thing I think we have to look at is back when the Rooney Rule was passed and put in effect in 2003, there was a period there where we did see an increase in minority hiring at the head coaching position. And I think over a period of time there were 10 or 12 minority coaches hired," Rooney said. “Since then that trend seems to reversed itself, particularly in the last few years. So, we need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation." 

One idea Rooney discussed was expanding the policy to include coordinator positions and other levels of coaching. He said the NFL's pipeline of minority candidates is good. 

“The question is ‘why aren’t more of those people getting interviews? Why aren’t more of those people advancing through the process,’” Rooney said. “There are a lot of pieces to it that we have to look at, and we have a lot of work to do to do that.” 

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Redskins Free Agent Targets: Justin Simmons

Redskins Free Agent Targets: Justin Simmons

NBC Sports Washington is taking a long look at potential free agents that could help the Redskins in 2020. 

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons
2016 third-round pick by Denver
Unrestricted free agent
6-foot-2 | 202 lbs. | 26 years old

The Redskins desperately need a free safety to pair with Landon Collins, Washington's prized free-agent acquisition from a year ago.

Could Justin Simmons fill that void?

The Denver Broncos safety is not only the best safety on the market, but one of the best free agents available in general. A second-team All-Pro selection in 2019, Simmons put together his best season to date in the final year of his rookie deal.

Simmons has been a starter since 2017 and has only missed three games in the past three seasons. He's one of the best defensive players and one of the most durable at his position.

The Broncos would certainly like to keep Simmons, who blossomed into one of their best players a season ago. If the two cannot come to a long-term contract agreement by March 10, the Broncos could place the franchise tag on Simmons. 

The 26-year-old recently told the media he has not decided whether he would show up to training camp or offseason workouts under the tag.

Simmons would be an ideal fit in Washington, but the question remains if the Redskins could afford him. The 26-year-old could likely sign a contract equal to, if not more, than the contracts that Kevin Byard, Eddie Jackson and Earl Thomas all earned in the past year. All three inked deals with an AAV over $12 million. 

Other options the Redskins could explore at safety that may be less expensive than Simmons are Anthony Harris or Tre Boston. Regardless, the Redskins will need to address the position this offseason.

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Questions facing Ron Rivera: How to fix the Trent Williams situation?

Questions facing Ron Rivera: How to fix the Trent Williams situation?

Ron Rivera already proved he can be decisive. It happened quickly, if there was a question, when Rivera released veterans Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last week. 

Being honest though, considering the salaries and the production, those decisions were easy. What to do with Trent Williams isn't.

The Redskins seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle didn't play a snap in 2019, holding out from the organization due to medical concerns and a lack of trust with the team's leadership. Well, Rivera overhauled the medical staff and Bruce Allen is gone, so two of Williams' concerns have been removed. 

Still, guaranteed money remains. And it's not an easy answer. 

RELATED: HOW MUCH DO PEOPLE IN CHARLOTTE LOVE RON RIVERA? WATCH THIS VIDEO

Williams stands to make about $15 million this season, but none of it is guaranteed. That means if an injury happens, and Williams will turn 32 in July, Washington could get out of paying anything, which is unacceptable to the tackle. 

The good news is Rivera has made progress with Williams; the men have talked and an in-person meeting could be in the works. 

The options going forward, however, aren't as simple. 

Could Williams come back and just play on his 2020 contract? Sure, but without additional guarantees, don't expect it. 

Could Williams get a new deal, an extension, or more guarantees for this year? Sure, but Rivera might hesitate. Williams hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2013 and has battled a bevy of injuries. Does it make sense to extend a 32-year-old tackle, even one as good as Williams? That's not an easy answer when the salary would probably be at least $15 million a season. 

Could Williams get traded? Sure, but Washington will never get equal value back on Williams.

The Redskins made a dramatic mistake last year by not trading Williams when it was obvious his holdout was very serious. Washington could have dealt a Pro Bowl left tackle with two years left on his contract to a number of desperate teams. The Browns publicly admitted they wanted Williams and former Redskins team president Bruce Allen wouldn't take the call. Even six weeks into the year when Williams had not reported, Allen refused to talk about a trade.

RELATED: REDSKINS' FREE AGENT TARGETS - JUSTIN SIMMONS

With one year left on his deal, Williams' trade value has changed. He might not command a first-round pick, and without a first-rounder, is it really worth trading a Pro Bowler?

Rivera comes to Washington with an outstanding reputation for dealing with players. His best play with Williams might be to simply level with the player that felt mistreated. 

The Redskins need Williams back on the field to protect young quarterback Dwayne Haskins and revitalize their run game. Williams is one of, if not the, best tackles in football. The team is better with him suited up on Sundays. 

How to get it done is tricky, but perhaps Rivera can offer more guarantees this year to get Williams back in the building. From there, maybe an extension is possible. Or maybe not.

Washington can't look at Williams' situation in simple terms. The team needs to show a commitment to their best players and fixing previously screwed up situations. That would show a real change in the organization. 

Whatever happens - even if it is a trade - Rivera made real progress by simply engaging Williams. Ideally, there is a real fix on the horizon, but if nothing else, the Redskins can't allow the Williams situation to drag out for the whole 2020 season and be a dark cloud over the team like it was in 2019. 

It appears that is already on a better plane than last year. 

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