NFL to hold accelerator program at upcoming league meetings, aimed at promoting diversity in front-office jobs -

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Next week's league meetings in Irving, Texas, will once again feature the NFL's Front Office & General Manager Accelerator Program, aimed at promoting qualified personnel people from diverse backgrounds and connecting them with decision-makers at all 32 teams. Antioxidant 2246

NFL to hold accelerator program at upcoming league meetings, aimed at promoting diversity in front-office jobs -

It will be the fourth time the program has taken place at a league meeting where NFL owners assemble, and the timing coincides with the beginnings of the hiring cycle where somewhere close to a half-dozen general manager jobs could open.

This year's group boasts several candidates who have interviewed for multiple general manager positions. Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham is the only person who interviewed for both open jobs last year, and wound up turning down the Cardinals offer. Browns assistant GM Glenn Cook, Bills senior personnel advisor Malik Boyd and Raiders interim GM Champ Kelly have also interviewed with multiple teams for general manager positions in recent years.

League sources have also identified several candidates who should be in line to get at least one GM interview this upcoming cycle. Giants assistant GM Brandon Brown, Bills director of player personnel Terrance Gray, Saints assistant GM Khai Harley and Browns assistant GM Catherine Raiche are among the names sources believe could get interview opportunities this upcoming cycle.

The program will span from Monday into Wednesday afternoon. Forty-two men and women from 31 teams will take part in seminars focused on interview techniques, personal wellness, leading across generations and discussions with agents. The program also features networking opportunities with club ownership, a necessary element to increasing diversity in the top ranks of the league.

Since 1993, only 16 percent of all people hired to be general managers in the NFL were men of color. But those numbers have improved recently, with eight of the 15 hirings since 2019 being men of color. Of the 30 teams with a general manager title, 10 have men of color in the chair.

The general manager position has been one where the NFL has seen good progress in terms of racial diversity, but the league is still lacking at offensive coordinator and head coach. Since these league meetings take place during Week 15 of the season, coaches aren't able to participate in this iteration of the program. The league has its accelerator program for coaches in the offseason.

This year the league adjusted its agenda for the program after feedback from participants over the years to split into groups. One of the common issues with the program has been having people at different -- and sometimes very different -- stages of their careers all in the same group. The 42 going to Texas next week range from former general managers to college scouts, for example.

The league will split the newcomers from the past participants for one session on Monday. Past participants will take part in a workshop on branding oneself, while the newcomers will have a seminar on networking best practices.

A full list of the participants for the NFL Front Office & General Manager Accelerator Program is below:

Quentin Harris (Cardinals), Dwaune Jones (Falcons), Mark Azevedo (Ravens), David Blackburn (Ravens), Malik Boyd (Bills), Terrance Gray (Bills), Samir Suleiman (Panthers), Adrian Wilson (Panthers), Ian Cunningham (Bears), Francis Saint Paul (Bears), Steven Radicevic (Bengals), Glenn Cook (Browns), Catherine Raiche (Browns), Brett Maxie II (Cowboys), Rich Hurtado (Broncos), Kelly Kleine (Broncos), Ray Agnew (Lions), Richmond Williams (Packers), Lee Gissendaner (Packers), Chris Blanco (Texans), Regis Eller (Jaguars), Tim Terry (Chiefs), Dwyane Joseph (Raiders), Champ Kelly (Raiders), JoJo Wooden (Chargers), Ray Farmer (Rams), Reggie McKenzie (Dolphins), Demitrius Washington (Vikings), Steve Cargile (Patriots), Khai Harley (Saints), Brandon Brown (Giants), Chad Alexander (Jets), Brian Shields (Jets), Ameena Soliman (Eagles), Charles Walls (Eagles), Sheldon White (Steelers), Tariq Ahmad (49ers), Josh Williams (49ers), DJ Hord (Seahawks), Jacqueline Davidson (Buccaneers), Kevin Turks (Titans) and Eric Stokes (Commanders).

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NFL to hold accelerator program at upcoming league meetings, aimed at promoting diversity in front-office jobs -

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