The NFL did not shy away from backing Black Lives Matter, pledging money and resources in support of people and communities of color and joining the NBA in advocating for record voter registration and action.
But that was the league itself. It is now time for some individual franchises to demonstrate they too support fairness and equality.
As of Tuesday morning, there were six open head coaching positions. The Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers have several Black options when it comes to making a hire.
The top available coaches of color are led by Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy was running backs coach before being named offensive coordinator for the Chiefs in 2018. He has been contacted by “numerous” teams, according to CBS Sports. Teaming with star quarterback Deshaun Watson in Houston could be thrilling, but bad trades and contracts will slow the re-build from a 4-12 season.
The Chargers job is open because Black head coach Anthony Lynn was fired on Monday after compiling a 33-31 record over four years. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert showed he could be a game-changer and Bieniemy was instrumental in grooming Patrick Mahomes. This would be a good fit.
Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, is called “the most intelligent coach I’ve ever had,” by several of his players. An interesting note on Saleh; He is of Black and Arabic descent and the Detroit metropolitan area has one of nation’s largest Arab populations. He was also scheduled to meet with the Jaguars and Falcons.
Falcons defensive coordinator Raheem Morris took over at mid-season as interim head coach and showed he should be leading another NFL team. He is a former Tampa Bay Bucs head coach, but was fired after his third season with a 17-31 record. Morris has coached offense and defense during his seven seasons in Atlanta.
Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady had one of his best seasons in the NFL, thanks in part to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Yes, offensive guru head coach Bruce Arians is in charge, but Leftwich is the hands-on guy that was instrumental in helping Brady toss 40 touchdown passes this season.
Long-time Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis joined former NFL head coach Herm Edwards at Arizona State and serves as his co-defensive coordinator. Lewis interviewed for the Texans job and was scheduled to talk with the Lions and Jaguars too.
There is a wild card candidate too. Former Dallas Cowboys co-defensive coordinator Kris Richard said earlier this season that he refused to take a lesser job in 2020 because he wants a head coaching position. The Cowboys went with Mike Nolan after Richard was let go – and Nolan’s defense was one of the worst in NFL history. It shows what Richard meant in Dallas. Two seasons ago, Richard was a prime candidate to be a head coach. He was out of the NFL this year by choice. He is still respected and could be quietly approaching teams.
The Reid Roundup
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum scored 40 points in a 126-114 win over the Toronto Raptors Monday night. It was the third 40-plus point game in his career, an NBA record for a player under 23 years old... While Saint Louis University men’s basketball is shut down because of COVID protocols, the Billikens made their first appearance in the AP Top 25 on Monday. Coach team is No. 23... The Boston Red Sox, the last MLB team to field a Black player and a franchise that still deals with the racist antics of many Fenway Park fans, made history Monday when Bianca Smith was hired as a minor league coach. She is the first Black woman to serve as a coach in professional baseball history.
Alvin A. Reid is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook and a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS.