Alameda, Calif. — The NFL said Thursday it will investigate whether the Oakland Raiders violated the “Rooney Rule” when they hired Jon Gruden as coach.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance called for the investigation on Wednesday out of concern that Raiders owner Mark Davis came to an agreement with Gruden before the team interviewed any minority candidates as required by the NFL since 2003.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that the NFL will “look into this.”
The Fritz Pollard Alliance is dedicated to promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams.
Davis said Tuesday at the news conference introducing Gruden as the team’s new coach that he had been trying to make the move for six years and finally believed it would happen after a meeting in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve, the day before Gruden worked a game between the Raiders and Eagles on ESPN.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Tuesday he interviewed two minority candidates before Gruden’s hiring was announced. Those candidates were Oakland tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and Southern California offensive coordinator Tee Martin.
The Raiders haven’t commented on the request from the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
Report: Panthers, Turner are talking
The Carolina Panthers are interviewing Norv Turner for its vacant offensive coordinator position, said a person familiar with the situation. The Panthers fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey Tuesday, two days after a playoff loss to the Saints.
If the 65-year-old Turner is hired, he’s expected to bring in his son Scott as quarterbacks coach.
‘48 Hours’ to spotlight Hernandez’s life
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s life and death will be the subject of a one-hour special episode of “48 Hours” to be broadcast on Jan. 20.
The CBS program will be told by best-selling author James Patterson, who is writing a book about Hernandez.
Once one of the top players in the NFL, Hernandez was convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. Hernandez hanged himself at the age of 27 in the Massachusetts prison cell where he was serving a life sentence. After his death, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can cause depression and violent mood swings.
Game site in London switched
The NFL is heading to a new destination in London, and the first match-up at English Premier League club Tottenham will be the Oakland Raiders against the Seattle Seahawks in October.
That’s if the 60,000-plus capacity stadium, which has been designed to accommodate soccer and NFL, is completed in time for Week 6.
While Tottenham is sure that building work is on schedule on the White Hart Lane site where its previous stadium was demolished last year, the NFL has contingency plans to move the Oct. 14 game to Wembley Stadium.
The Bears are expected to hire former Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator. Helfrich has not worked in the NFL but he has spent time as an assistant under Chip Kelly and Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter.
Atlanta at Philadelphia, Saturday 4:35 p.m. (NBC)
New Orleans at Minnesota, Sunday, 4:40 p.m. (FOX)
Tennessee at New England, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. (CBS)
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)