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Long-ago Akron Pro may affect Browns Hires

The ‘Akron Pros’ were the NFL’s first Champions -- and their coach, Fritz Pollard was the first African American head coach in the NFL.

That was in 1920. In 2016, his legacy could influence the Browns as they look for new leadership for their football program.

The ‘Fritz Pollard Alliance -- led by former NFL players — is the group that got the NFL to require all teams to interview minority candidates for senior job vacancies.  They pushed for what is now called the ‘Rooney Rule’ — after the Pittsburgh Steelers owner who headed the NFL committee that drafted it.

Alliance Chairman John Wooten says, “We work every year with the NFL, with the commissioner and the group. We think of where the vacancies are going to be, and give them a slate of minorities who we feel warrant the opportunity to be interviewed and so forth.  And that’s where the Ronney Rule comes into play.”

Wooten -- who was a pro-bowl tackle for the Browns -- says the alliance named itself after Fritz Pollard to honor his contributions to the founding of NFL  and to serve as a demonstration of how minorities can be overlooked.