The NFL has expanded the Rooney Rule again, this time to include quarterbacks coaches in a further effort to diversify the coaching ranks.

The change was announced Tuesday at the owners meeting in Atlanta by Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer. The oft-criticized Rooney Rule, adopted in 2003 to enhance opportunities for minorities to gain head coaching jobs and enhanced several times to include front office positions, now will require one minority or female candidate from another team to be interviewed for quarterbacks coach. Previously, the rule covered head coach, general manager and all coordinator jobs.

Such current head coaches as Zac Taylor of the Bengals, Kyle Shanahan of the 49ers and Brian Daboll of the Giants have advanced from QB coach to the top spot.

In March, the owners approved for this season that all 32 clubs must employ a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority to serve as an offensive assistant coach. The person will receive a one-year contract and work closely with the head coach and offensive staff to gain experience.

An additional change made Tuesday forbids teams from conducting head coach interviews with candidates from other NFL teams until the third day after the season ends – if the candidate’s team is not in the playoffs. For potential hires who are in wild-card round games, there will be a two-day hiatus following their game before interviews.

Significantly, teams can’t hold in-person head coach interviews with anyone working for another team until after all wild-card games. But interviews with in-house candidates or those not working in the NFL are allowed before the wild-card round.

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The idea is to provide more preparation time for interviews.

Earlier, Indianapolis was awarded the next two NFL scouting combines. The city has staged the winter event since 1987 for players entering the draft.

The owners also are discussing possibly dropping the Pro Bowl or totally revamping it. No decision is expected at these meetings.

Indianapolis was granted hosting rights for the 2023 and 2024 combines. This was the first time the NFL put the combine up for bidding, with Dallas and Los Angeles also seeking to host.

BROWNS: One of the women accusing Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct while she gave him a massage felt “scared” and threatened by a comment he made following a therapy session.

Appearing on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Ashley Solis, who is among 22 women who have sued Watson over allegations he behaved inappropriately with them, provided graphic details of an encounter with the three-time Pro Bowler.

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She also said at the end of a massage, Watson told her: “I know you have a career to protect,” and “I know you don’t want anyone messing with it just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis was asked by reporter Soledad O’Brien why Watson’s message frightened her.

“Because that sounded like a threat to me,” she said.

During the interview airing Tuesday night, Solis and another massage therapist, Kyla Hayes, both provide details of their meetings with Watson, who is facing civil lawsuits by the 22 women alleging various sexual acts during massages he received while playing for the Houston Texans.

Watson has denied any wrongdoing and has maintained any sex with the women was consensual. Two grand juries in Texas have declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints filed by 10 women.

Solis and Hayes both said they feel offended by the five-year, $230 million contract Watson received in March from the Browns. Watson’s deal is both the richest in NFL history and fully guaranteed.

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“It’s just like a big screw you,” Solis said. “That’s what it feels like. That we don’t care. He can run and throw, and that’s what we care about.”

Added Hayes, “It was sick to me. … I felt like he’s being rewarded for bad behavior.”

The Browns, who have spent two decades in a futile search for a franchise QB, pursued Watson along with several other teams. They convinced him to waive his no-trade clause and join Cleveland after he initially rebuffed the team. The Browns sent three first-round draft picks and six overall to the Texans for Watson.

COMMANDERS: Terry McLaurin was a no-show for Washington’s first on-field workout of the offseason while negotiations on a contract extension are ongoing for the team’s top receiver.

McLaurin and pass rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat weren’t on the field when voluntary organized team activities resumed, along with receiver Cam Sims who was excused for the birth of a child.

Coach Ron Rivera said Young is still rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee and could be around soon, and he expects Sweat back as soon as Wednesday, but McLaurin’s absence could last much longer.

RAVENS: The Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with cornerback Kyle Fuller.

Fuller spent last season with the Denver Broncos. Prior to that, he played in 80 games for the Chicago Bears from 2014-20, intercepting 19 passes.
Fuller went to Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore before playing at Virginia Tech.


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