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Thanks to Rooney Rule, doors opened

The Rooney Rule has helped turn around the NFL's once-dismal record of hiring minority head coaches, Greg Garber writes.

Updated: February 9, 2007, 3:03 PM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

MIAMI -- As the NFL celebrates its ascendant African-American head coaches, somewhere Johnnie Cochran Jr. is smiling.

With the passing of the millennium, O.J. Simpson's defense attorney wondered why there weren't more minority coaches in the league. He and labor law attorney Cyrus Mehri commissioned a comprehensive report that was published in 2002 and detailed a "dismal record of minority hiring."

Although 70 percent of the NFL's players were black, only 28 percent of the assistant ...

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