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Minority candidates for commissioner suggested

NEW YORK (May 11, 2006) -- The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a leading force in the push for diversity in the NFL, has submitted four minority candidates for consideration as commissioner Paul Tagliabue's replacement.

While FPA founder Cyrus Mehri would not identify the candidates, he confirmed the number.

"That is true," said Mehri, a Washington attorney. "Just like the Fritz Pollard Alliance has done for all positions in the NFL over the last few years -- for coaches and front-office positions -- we prepared a list of candidates, but we will not make the list of names public. At some point we would expect an announcement of the list of finalists."

The group's involvement was first reported in The Washington Post.

Tagliabue announced his resignation in March and hopes to be out of the job by July. NFL owners will meet in Denver later this month to discuss the search for his successor.

Eight team owners are on the search committee, which is headed by Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney. Rooney sent the FPA's list of candidates to Korn-Ferry International, which was hired by the NFL to oversee the search.

"As far as we know, there's never been this kind of inclusive search for a commissioner of any of the major league sports," Mehri said. "What they have done is set out that they will embrace the diverse candidate slate for this search, and one or more minority candidates are seriously considered for this job.

"We applaud the league for that."

There has been speculation that Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, and Harold Henderson, who heads the league's management council, are among the four candidates submitted by the PFA.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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