Jerry Jones might ask for exemption

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones indicated that he would ask the NFL for an exemption to the Rooney Rule if he decides to hire Jason Garrett as head coach on a permanent basis.

The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview a minority candidate for head coaching and front-office positions.

"There are some extenuating circumstances that are involved here," Jones said during his weekly appearance on KRLD-FM when asked whether he would have to interview a minority candidate if he decides to hire Garrett. "On my decision and how we make it, I'll have the opportunity to present that to the league, so we'll see how that goes. But I really can't give you any type of answer there because I'm not so sure I'm through working the process."

The NFL has language in place that addresses teams that make an in-season coaching change, as the Cowboys did by firing Wade Phillips and promoting Garrett to interim coach. It states that the team must follow the Rooney Rule requirements unless the team has a prior contractual agreement in place with a member of its coaching staff to become the head coach.

Garrett, the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator before Phillips' firing, has no such agreement in his contract.

"Once the season is concluded, the head coaching position must be considered open and the club must fill the position in accordance with the interviewing guidelines," the NFL's policy states. "No club may make a commitment to a coach retained during the season that extends beyond the end of the club's playing season. Any contract that seeks to make such a commitment will not be approved. This in no way prevents a club from ultimately hiring the interim coach on a full-time basis after fulfilling the interview process requirements."

Jones satisfied the Rooney Rule in 2003 with a telephone interview of Dennis Green after the Cowboys agreed to a deal with Bill Parcells. Minority candidates Todd Bowles, Jim Caldwell, Ron Rivera and Mike Singletary were among the 11 coaches who interviewed with the Cowboys before Phillips was hired in 2007.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.