Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been viewed as a token interview over the years, an obligatory candidate for various head-coaching vacancies because he's black. NFL policy stipulates that at least one minority be interviewed for every vacancy.
But we can safely state the Buffalo Bills don't view Frazier as a required interview. The Bills will meet with Frazier on Thursday morning to discuss their opening.
The Bills aren't searching for a minority to interview as many teams have done in the past. They interviewed interim coach Perry Fewell on Monday afternoon. The Bills also are reportedly interested in San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. Fewell is black. Rivera is Puerto Rican.
John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which oversees the so-called Rooney Rule on minority hires, said he anticipated the Bills will interview Rivera later this week.
Frazier and Rivera are permitted to interview for the Bills' opening before the end of their teams' seasons because they have a first-round postseason bye.
"I'm impressed," Wooten said of the Bills' search. "They didn’t have to interview any of these minority guys. They've already satisfied the Rooney Rile with the interview they gave Perry Fewell."
Wooten couldn't confirm a scheduled interview for Rivera, but the Fritz Pollard Alliance stages preparatory sessions for candidates before they interview. The organization already has met with Rivera about the Bills.
Frazier declined to comment on Thursday's interview when I reached him at the Vikings' facility because he was on his way to a team meeting.
Frazier has interviewed for five openings over the past two years. He was the lone minority the Miami Dolphins interviewed for the job Tony Sparano assumed in 2008.
"He has absolutely earned it," said Wooten, a Pro Bowl guard for the Cleveland Browns in the 1960s. "I think he's really ready to take the step up. I think he should have gotten the job with St. Louis and Detroit. I really thought he'd fit right in with those particular spots last year. He was disappointed, and I told him there was nothing wrong with becoming disappointed, but don't get discouraged.
"He'll do a fantastic job tomorrow. His stinger will be up and he'll give a good interview. I think he brings the fire they need."