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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

NFL teams will continue to be permitted to block assistants under contract



We’re still not sure how many times the Bucs were blocked from interviewing other teams’ contracted assistant coaches in their efforts to build a coaching staff, but we know there’s a good chance we’ve not seen the last of such situations.

The NFL is discussing many potential rules changes here at the league meetings in Palm Beach, but one matter they won’t debate is changes to the current rules that severely limit the ability of coaches under contract to interview for other jobs.

Competition Committee chairman and Falcons president Rich McKay said this afternoon that the issue was not raised in the lengthy annual team surveys the committee undertakes, meaning no change in the rule will be discussed this year.

“We expected to see some (feedback) in the surveys and really didn’t see it,” McKay said. “We had talked about the anti-tampering rules for an awfully long time (in previous years). The ruling we got to is that a contract is a contract.”

That means that even the Bucs declined to make an issue of the problem, even though they were, perhaps, most affected by the current rules. After coach Greg Schiano’s hiring in January, the Bucs were blocked by an unknown number of teams when trying to interview those clubs’ assistant coaches for positions on the Bucs staff. One report indicated they were blocked more than 10 times.

Current rules allow teams to forbid their assistant coaches to interview for other jobs, unless that job is for a head coach position. The rules used to allow coaches to interview if the new job was considered a promotion, but McKay said too many teams took advantage.

“There was so much manipulation going on with assistants and designating new titles,” McKay said. “If a coach decided to sign a multi-year agreement, he understands when he signs that multi-year agreement that he may not be able to move unless the team grants him permission.”

[Last modified: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:15pm]


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