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NFL to meet with minority head coaches, GM candidates

Associated Press/Brett Carlsen
Detail view of NFL shield logo on the wall of the stadium during the third quarter of an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Buffalo won the game 27-24. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

More than 60 minority head coaches and general manager candidates will meet with NFL owners as part of a two-day accelerator program, the league announced on Thursday. 

The Inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator program will provide senior women and minority candidates with leadership development sessions. Candidates will meet with football operations experts and facilitators and have time to network with team owners. 

The league said the program’s purpose is to build a diverse hiring pipeline for future head coach and front office positions within the 32-team league. 

Attendees of the two-day program will also engage in discussions with league owners on how to become a coach or front office executive, according to the statement. 

All 32 teams will send their nominated rising prospect to participate.

Notable names include Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. 

“The NFL is committed to diversity and inclusion, and this program is the latest in a series of steps designed to improve our hiring practices and create opportunities for advancement,” league commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 

“The program helps ensure that clubs receive exposure to high-performing, up-and-coming NFL talent and candidates get a chance to learn the business on a working level from team owners and executives.”

News of the program comes as Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams including the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos earlier this year alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices.

Two other minority coaches, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, were added to Flores’s lawsuit last month. 

The league also hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend the NFL in the suit.

Following the lawsuit, the league adopted a policy in March that will require all teams to hire a female or minority offensive assistant coach for the upcoming season. 

“I think the Accelerator is some of the most important work the League and our committee will do all year because the potential of the program is exponential,” Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank said.

“It’s an unprecedented opportunity for emerging leaders, owners and team leadership to get to know each other better over these two days, and the relationships formed in this setting will be integral to future hiring cycles.”

The Inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator program will take place May 23- 24 during the league’s annual spring meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

Tags Arthur Blank Arthur Blank Atlanta Brian Flores Brian Flores Brian Flores lawsuit Eric Bieniemy Georgia NFL NFL NFL racial discrimination Racial discrimination Roger Goodell Roger Goodell Roger Goodell
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