USA TODAY Sports

The NFL reportedly let the Oakland Raiders go free and clear on the Rooney Rule because of their interpretation of a contract offer that wasn’t.

The league made clear Friday that, in their eyes, the Raiders did not violate the Rooney Rule during a hiring process that started and ended with Jon Gruden. In a further explanation to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio on Saturday, the league said that they were satisfied that the Raiders conducted “bona fide interviews.”

“The club conducted bona fide interviews with minority candidates as part of its search process,” the statement said. “The Rooney Rule requires NFL clubs consider at least one minority candidate for the head coach position as part of the hiring process before extending an offer to any coach. We concluded that happened in this case.”

There was one remaining sticking point — namely, that owner Mark Davis admitted he had a commitment from Gruden before he fired Jack Del Rio. That Christmas Eve conversation, league sources told Florio, was determined to not have been a formal contract offer. In essence, the Raiders were allowed to reach a handshake agreement with Gruden, fire Del Rio, interview minority candidates, and then formalize the agreement with Gruden.

With that in mind, there’s no surprise that some NFL employees weren’t terribly happy with the league’s enforcement — or lack thereof — of the rule. It’s clear that the Raiders violated the spirit of the rule, if not the letter, and that sets a troubling precedent going forward.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
QUIZ: Name every head coach in the history of the Oakland Raiders

Dating back to their founding in 1960, the Oakland Raiders have had 22 coaches in NFL franchise history. This list includes two Hall of Fame coaches, one Hall of Fame player and two Super Bowl winners. How many of the leaders of the Raiders can you name?

Clue: Years Active

Note: Two coaches have had two stints with the team.

Score:
0/22
Time:
5:00
1960–1961
Eddie Erdelatz
1961–1962
Marty Feldman
1962
Red Conkright
1963–1965
Al Davis
1966–1968
John Rauch
1969–1978
John Madden
1979–1987
Tom Flores
1988–1989
Mike Shanahan
1989–1994
Art Shell
1995–1996
Mike White
1997
Joe Bugel
1998–2001
Jon Gruden
2002–2003
Bill Callahan
2004–2005
Norv Turner
2006
Art Shell
2007–2008
Lane Kiffin
2008–2010
Tom Cable
2011
Hue Jackson
2012–2014
Dennis Allen
2014
Tony Sparano
2015–2017
Jack Del Rio
2018-
Jon Gruden
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