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NFL to probe Raiders’ hiring process of Gruden

The Associated Press

New Raiders coach Jon Gruden answers questions during a press conference on Tuesday in Alameda, Calif.

The Associated PressALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The NFL said Thursday it will investigate whether the Oakland Raiders violated the “Rooney Rule” when they hired Jon Gruden as coach.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance called for the investigation on Wednesday out of concern that Raiders owner Mark Davis came to an agreement with Gruden before the team interviewed any minority candidates as required by the NFL since 2003.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that the NFL will “look into this.”

The Fritz Pollard Alliance is dedicated to promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams.

Davis said Tuesday at the news conference introducing Gruden as the team’s new coach that he had been trying to make the move for six years and finally believed it would happen after a meeting in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve, the day before Gruden worked a game between the Raiders and Eagles on ESPN.

“I felt pretty confident that he was all-in,” Davis said. “And that’s the term that we were using in our discussions and everything, are you all-in? And I never wavered from all-in. And this time he didn’t waver, either.”

Davis fired Jack Del Rio a week later and the team officially hired Gruden on Jan. 6.

Davis also said he wouldn’t have fired Del Rio if he didn’t believe Gruden would sign on as coach.

“I believe that I would’ve sat down with Jack and we would’ve figured out coordinators and assistant coaches and things like that and try to figure out how to reinvigorate the franchise through Jack,” he said.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Tuesday he interviewed two minority candidates before Gruden’s hiring was announced. Those candidates were Oakland tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and Southern California offensive coordinator Tee Martin.

Falcons’ Jones fights off aches

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Even Julio Jones was caught off guard when someone mentioned all the various body parts he’s had to nurse back to health this season.

Ribs. Thumb. Knee. Hip. Back. Ankle.

The ankle twice, in fact.

“Whew! All that?” he asked, sounding a bit incredulous.

Then, with a slight smile and shaking his head, Jones added, “Long season, man. Long season.”

He’s got a routine to cope with all the aches and pains.

During the week, Jones is often limited in practice or doesn’t even take the field. But by the time the game rolls around, he’s always ready to go.

“He has a real process to do that,” coach Dan Quinn said. “We’re fortunate that he’s played with injuries and kind of knows the routine of how to do it.”

That will be the case again for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles.Speech

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