Bieniemy, Leftwich to attend NFL diversity event

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Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich are among more than 60 different candidates for head coach and general manager scheduled to attend the inaugural coaching and front office accelerator program next week at the NFL Spring Meetings in Atlanta.

Each NFL team nominated at least one candidate to participate in the two-day program, which is scheduled to take place Monday and Tuesday to coincide with NFL meetings.

There are also two women from clubs who will attend, the Denver Broncos ‘Kelly Kleine, the executive director of football operations / special adviser to GM, and Jacqueline Davidson, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ director of football research.

The main goal of the program is to get minority candidates for head coach and GM openings to meet time with the league’s highest ranking decision makers. The idea grew out of feedback that the league’s diversity committee received on the NFL scouting combination in March from candidates – some successful and some not – from the most recent coach / GM hiring cycle. Some of these candidates told the committee that one of the things that bothered them about the process was that the first time they ever met a team owner was when they went in for an interview for the job.

To avoid tampering, there will be guidelines for these networking sessions, with no job interviews or hiring allowed. This is more of a “get to know you” initiative to help both graduates and owners in the future.

“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,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The program helps ensure clubs get exposure to high-performing, upcoming NFL talent, and graduates get a chance to learn the business at a work level from team owners and managers.”

During the NFL meetings in March, held in Palm Beach, Florida, the league announced that all 32 NFL teams will hire an offensive assistant coach from the minority until the 2022 season, part of a series of policy improvements announced by the league to address on its ongoing diversity efforts.

The NFL’s move to address inequality in hiring different candidates for head coach and GM jobs comes amid a lawsuit filed by Brian Flores against the NFL and three teams, including the Miami Dolphins, in February alleging discrimination in his interview processes and his firing in Miami. Two other coaches, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, have since added their names to the trial.

In each of the past four years, Bieniemy has interviewed for NFL head coach jobs, including this year with the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. Leftwich, meanwhile, was a candidate this offseason for head coach jobs at the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears and Saints.

There has been progress in some areas, especially with general managers and defensive coordinators, but there are only five minority head coaches in the league. Goodell said in February that the league “missed” its goals during the 2022 hiring cycle for head coaches and promised to double its off-season efforts.

The list of contestants that the NFL noted may change:

Arizona Cardinals:

  • Quentin Harris, Vice President, Player Staff

  • Vance Joseph, Defensive Coordinator

Atlanta Falcons:

  • Charles London, quarterbacks coach

  • Anthony Robinson, director of college scouting

Baltimore Ravens:

Buffalo Bills:

  • Terrance Gray, Assistant Director of Staff

  • Eric Washington, senior defensive assistant / defensive line coach

Carolina Panthers:

  • Jeff Nixon, assistant head coach, offensive

  • Samir Suleiman, Vice President of the Football Administration

Chicago Bears:

  • Ian Cunningham Assistant General Manager

  • Alan Williams, defensive coordinator

Cincinnati Bengals:

Cleveland Browns:

  • Glenn Cook, Vice President, Player Staff

  • Joe Woods, defensive coordinator

Dallas Cowboys:

  • Chris Vaughn, assistant director of college scouting

  • Joe Whitt Jr., Defensive Assistant Coordinator / Secondary Coach

Denver Broncos:

  • Ejiro Evero, defensive coordinator

  • Kelly Kleine, CEO of football operations / special advisor to the general manager

Detroit Lions:

  • Ray Agnew, Assistant General Manager

  • Aaron Glenn, Defensive Coordinator

Green Bay Packers:

  • Jerry Gray, defensive back coach / passing game coordinator

  • Richmond Williams, Director of Pro Personnel

Houston Texas:

  • Pep Hamilton, offensive coordinator

  • Mozique McCurtis, National Scout

Indianapolis Colts:

  • Marcus Brady, offensive coordinator

  • Morocco Brown, director of college scouting

Jacksonville Jaguars:

  • Mike Caldwell, Defensive Coordinator

  • Regis Or, Director of Professional Scouting

Kansas City Chiefs:

  • Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator

  • Tim Terry, senior director of pro scouting

Las Vegas Raiders:

Los Angeles Chargers:

  • Renaldo Hill, defensive coordinator

  • JoJo Wooden, Director of Personnel

Los Angeles Rams:

  • Thomas Brown, assistant head coach / tight ends coach

  • Ray Farmer, senior human resources manager

Miami Dolphins:

  • Marvin Allen, Assistant General Manager

  • Jon Embree, assistant head coach / tight ends coach

Minnesota Vikings:

  • Chris Blanco, Assistant Director of Professional Scouting

  • Chisom Opara, National Scout

New England Patriots:

  • Steve Cargile, professional scouting director

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach

New Orleans Saints:

  • Khai Harley, Vice President of Football Administration

  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator / secondary coach

New York Giants:

  • Brandon Brown, assistant general manager

  • Thomas McGaughey, coordinator of special teams

New York Jets:

  • Chad Alexander, director, player staff

  • Ron Middleton, tight ends coach

Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Brian Johnson, quarterbacks coach

  • Jeff Scott, director of football operations

Pittsburgh Steelers:

San Francisco 49ers:

Seattle Seahawks:

  • Alonzo Highsmith, senior executive advisor for general manager

  • Kerry Joseph, assistant quarterbacks coach

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Jacqueline Davidson, director of football research

  • Byron Leftwich, offensive coordinator

Tennessee Titans:

  • Tony Dews, running back coach

  • Brian Gardner, Director of Professional Scouting

Washington Commanders:

  • Randy Jordan, running back coach

  • Eric Stokes, senior director of player staff

Participants from the NFL League Office:

  • Dawn Aponte, SVP, football manager and CEO of football

  • Kevin Boothe, Director, Management / Workforce

  • Kimberly Fields, SVP, football business strategy / football operations

ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Kevin Seifert and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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