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Lions’ Duce Staley sees ‘progress’ with Rooney Rule changes

Duce Staley shouldn’t be in Detroit. And he most certainly shouldn’t be on the Lions coaching staff.

Now it’s not because he isn’t qualified. Because, quite frankly, he’s overqualified. It’s because Staley should be the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach right now.

And the reasons why he should be are endless.

The players he coached love him. The city of Philadelphia loves him.

Despite that, the Eagles organization did not love him. At least not enough to make him the head coach. Instead, they turned to an outsider, Nick Sirianni, former offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.

By doing so, the Eagles overlooked a beloved figure in Philadelphia. They ignored a man that their locker room respected. Lastly, they contributed to one of the NFL’s most significant problems––diversity in the head coaching ranks.

Of the 32 head coaches in the NFL, only five are minorities, with three being African-American. The coaches are Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Brian Flores (Dolphins), David Culley (Texans), Robert Saleh (Jets), and Ron Rivera (Washington).

African-Americans make up for over 70% of the NFL’s players, yet less than 10% of its coaches are.

That’s a huge problem. Fortunately for candidates like Staley, the NFL is addressing it.

Once again, the NFL made changes to its Rooney Rule policy. These several changes took place this week at the league’s fall meeting. For those who don’t know, the Rooney Rule is the NFL’s policy that mandates franchises to interview minorities for head coach and senior football operation positions.

As part of the new changes, teams must interview at least one minority candidate in-person for head coach or general manager positions.

Upon learning of the changes, Duce Staley appeared to be pleased with what he heard.

“It’s progress. You know, in one word, progress. And you see it,” Staley told reporters on Thursday. “The NFL is definitely taking a stand and pushing the envelope. So, that’s all you can ask for.”

“It’ll take time for me to sit down and go back over everything, look at this [and] look at that, that’s not my job,” said Staley. “Of course, I coach football. And that’s what I want to do, but I see the NFL and everybody that’s involved, you know, they said ‘Alright, this is a high priority,’ so it’s on their list to make changes.”

“It’s a step forward.”

Detroit Lions RB coach Duce Staley
Lions running back coach Duce Staley works with the backs during training camp on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, in Allen Park. Lions

And if Dan Campbell has his way, that step forward will happen for Staley sooner than later. In March, Campbell stated his excitement to have Staley on his staff. At the same, Campbell said his goal isn’t for him to be on it long-term.

He wants to help Duce Staley become a head coach.

“I told Duce when I was on the phone with him. When I thought that he was about to get out of Philly, or he was thinking about it – I told him, ‘Look, you’re not going to be a token assistant head coach,'” Campbell said.

“I’m going to use him, and I plan on using him for some media obligations. We had him in during our player evaluations on the whole offense and defense, though he wasn’t able to be in there very long because he had to go back with (Anthony Lynn) and work offensively.”

“But I’m going to keep him abreast of the cap and things of that nature, what we’re trying to do with free agency, guys that I know, even if they’re on defense, I want him to have a hand in.”

It’s no telling how long Duce Staley will be with the Lions. For now, though, he’s preparing to coach against his former team, hoping to help Detroit earn its first win. And hopefully, for Staley, a great coaching job throughout the rest of the season will aid him with teams no longer overlooking him.

Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.

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