MIAMI — Stopping short of saying the Rooney Rule is not working, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell noted Wednesday the league needs change to its minority hiring policy.

Though the league requires teams to interview minority candidates, only two African-Americans have been hired for 19 open head coaching spots over the past three years. The league has only two minority general managers among the 32 teams.

“Clearly we are not where we want to be on this level,” he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference. “We have a lot of work that has gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policy overall. It’s clear we need change and do something different.

“There’s no reason to expect we’re going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes and we’ve already begun engaging in those changes. Not just with our diversity committee, not just with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, but others. And trying to figure out what steps we could take next that would lead to better outcomes. It’s clear we’re all committed to doing that, and we have to make those changes.

“We will have a series of meetings which we’ve already scheduled over the next month to get that kind of dialogue going, to continue the dialogue to try to determine what are the solutions so we can have those better outcomes.”

The Rooney Rule, which has been adopted by other leagues and businesses, calls for a minority candidate to be interviewed for head coaching and executive openings such as general managers. Critics have said those interviews are often simply token responses to the rule and that the minority candidates are not seriously considered for those positions.


Goodell also addressed negotiations between the NFL Players Association and the league on a new labor deal. The current 10-year contract runs out in March 2021 and there is optimism on both fronts that a new deal would be finalized before this March when the 2020 league year begins.

On other topics:

• The NFL will return to play a regular-season game in Mexico City this season and next. It will be the fifth and sixth games played at Azteca Stadium. Goodell said dates and teams will be announced when the schedule is revealed in early spring.

• The latest probe into Patriots videotaping shenanigans is not completed. The NFL is in no rush to reach a conclusion about the video of the Bengals’ sideline being taken for a Patriots website. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has said he never viewed the footage and the team maintains the purpose of the filming was for an illustration of the work team advance scouts do while on the road. The team says it accepts full responsibility for the crew’s actions.

Goodell disagreed with the presumption it was a simple investigation.

• The NFL’s main goal regarding the case involving receiver Antonio Brown is to help him be successful in life. He did not offer any updates on where the investigation stands regarding the troubled receiver, who was released by the Patriots this season when allegations of sex abuse surfaced. Brown has since had a series of off-field incidents. Any return to the league is contingent on his being cleared to play again by the NFL.


• Goodell hinted that the next open Super Bowl would be awarded by the end of the calendar year when asked whether Las Vegas is in line for such a game. The next four Super Bowls will be in Tampa, Los Angeles, the Phoenix area and New Orleans.

He also said the NFL is not married to the defending Super Bowl champions hosting the Thursday night kickoff game for the season. That could bring the opening of the new Las Vegas or Los Angeles stadiums into play for that prime-time spot.

BROWNS: Andrew Berry has quickly gotten to work on restructuring the Browns. In a drastic way.

A day after Berry was officially hired as Cleveland’s new general manager, the team parted ways with assistant general manager Eliot Wolf and vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith, a person familiar with the Browns’ latest front office shakeup told The Associated Press.

College scouting director Steve Malin also has left the team, according to the source.

OBIT: Chris Doleman, whose enviable blend of speed and power made him one of the game’s most feared pass rushers during 15 seasons in the league, died Tuesday, two years after being diagnosed with brain cancer. The longtime Vikings star, who had 150 1/2 career sacks to rank fifth on the all-time list, was 58.


Doleman, who had surgery two years ago to remove a brain tumor, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer that killed U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2018.

BRONCOS: The Denver Broncos hired former sports agent Rich Hurtado as the team’s new lead contract negotiator, completing GM John Elway’s major shakeup of his personnel department.

Hurtado’s duties as the Broncos’ vice president of football administration are the “three Cs” – managing the team’s salary cap, negotiating player contracts and ensuring the club’s compliance with the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.

PACKERS: The Green Bay Packers named Jerry Gray defensive backs coach, picking off an assistant who spent the past six seasons with NFC North rival Minnesota.

AWARD: Former Chargers and Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards is the recipient of the NFL’s 2019 Salute to Service Award.

The award was created to acknowledge the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support members of the military community. Edwards will be recognized Saturday night at NFL Honors, when The Associated Press presents its individual league awards.

USAA will contribute $25,000 in Edwards’ honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA’s donation of $25,000, which will be donated to the Edwards’ military charity of choice.

Comments are not available on this story.