Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson will attend next week as part of the NFL’s new diversity network seminar. As ESPN Dan Graziano’s tweet notes, each team was asked to nominate two people, one from coaching staff and the other from the front office, though it appears Jackson will be the only Steeler attending.
NFL announced the names of the minority coach/GM candidates who will attend next week’s owners meeting to network with team owners. Each team was asked to nominate two candidates – one from coaching staff, one from front office. pic.twitter.com/vT2rrCO46m
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) May 19, 2022
The NFL created the event earlier in the offseason with the intention of, according to this early May ESPN article:
“To get minority candidates for head coach and GM openings face time with the league’s highest-ranking decision-makers.”
According to a league memo, the seminar will discuss the business of football as well as “coaching techniques.”
Jackson was hired this year to be the team’s receivers coach, replacing Ike Hilliard. Jackson has a blend of college and NFL coaching, most recently coming over from the Carolina Panthers but also coaching Baylor as recently as the 2019 season.
The league is making an effort to increase the number of minority head coaches. Currently, there’s five of them: Mike Tomlin, Lovie Smith, Ron Rivera, Robert Saleh, and Mike McDaniel.
Earlier this year, the league mandated that every team hire at least one minority offensive assistant. Pittsburgh had previously fulfilled that requirement with assistant OL Coach Isaac Williams, but also hired David Corley to be their assistant QBs Coach. Arguably, the best way to increase minority head coaching hires is to increase the number of minority offensive coaches, since most head coaches come from that side of the ball. Coaching hires are often just as much about who you know as what you know, and making connections at this seminar will be important.
According to ESPN, this week’s owners’ meetings won’t include head coaches and GMs as the March meetings did. It will mainly include team owners and presidents, key decision-makers in head coaching hires. Art Rooney II, of course, is expected to be in attendance.
Per Graziano’s tweet, there will be one former Steeler attending, too. Carolina’s Samir Suleiman has been invited to the seminar. Suleiman served as Omar Khan’s assistant “cap guy” for several years while also providing advice and insight on all things CBA-related. Owner David Tepper, who left the Steelers to buy the Panthers, hired him in early 2020. Other notable names attending are Vance Joseph, Ray Farmer, JoJo Wooden, and Morocco Brown. Wooden and Brown were two of the sixteen men who initially interviewed for the Steelers’ GM job, though it appears neither will receive second interviews.