Brian Flores gets hired by Pittsburgh Steelers

Brian Flores

Brian Flores gets hired by Pittsburgh Steelers
February 23
16:18 2022

I was finishing up writing my original sports column about the NBA heading into the All-Star break last Saturday afternoon when I saw the news that Brian Flores had been hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers. I immediately put that article on hold until next week and pivoted to writing this article about Flores because it was such a shock to me.

Flores was hired by the Steelers as their senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach which was announced on Saturday. Flores has 14 years of experience coaching in the NFL, most recently with the Miami Dolphins (2019-21). He was fired last month amid a cloud of controversy.

He is currently still involved in a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, the Dolphins, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants after not being hired as a head coach during this current hiring cycle. It seems only fitting that the first team to give Flores an opportunity was the Steelers, due to their history.

“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” said Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin in a statement. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his experience to help our team.”

Flores played college football at Boston College prior to joining the New England Patriots’ personnel staff. In his three years in Miami, Flores led the Dolphins to a 24-25 record overall. He also led the team to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in almost 20 years.

Steelers’ owner and team president Art Rooney II issued the following statement when Flores filed his lawsuit: 

“Over the past several years, our Diversity Committee has recommended, and ownership has adopted, a number of enhancements to the Rooney Rule as well as new policies designed to ensure women and minorities are receiving full and fair consideration for coach and front office positions,” said Art Rooney.

“The details of these enhancements and new policies have previously been made available. While I acknowledge that we have not seen progress in the ranks of Head Coaches, we have seen marked improvement in the hiring of women and minorities in other key leadership roles such as Coordinator positions, General Manager positions, and front office positions both in and out of football operations. I believe this progress has been made as a result of the implementation of many of the enhanced policies that we recently adopted.

“The Commissioner and League Executives, as well as the Diversity Committee, remain committed to working with all clubs, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and others in making these efforts as effective as possible and building upon them to promote the desired impacts on hiring decision in the League at all levels, including Head Coach positions.”

The Steelers have always been a very progressive organization. The Rooney Rule, which was established in 2003 to create more opportunities for minorities, was named after Dan Rooney, the former owner of the Steelers and former chairman of the league’s diversity committee.

I didn’t expect Flores to become a part of any team’s staff this season after filing his lawsuit. The NFL has a long history of blackballing players and coaches when they go against the owners. So for the Steelers to hire Flores so quickly really speaks to not only how they feel about him, but also how much they care what other teams think and feel.

I think this was the best case scenario for Flores because I truly feel he still has a great shot at possibly landing another head coaching job in the next year or two. As Tomlin wrote in his statement, Flores’ record speaks for itself. Defense is and has been his calling card, so his new job with the Steelers seems to be a great fit.

If things go well with Pittsburgh, there should be no excuse for some team not to give Flores another chance. And with the Steelers having a down year on the defensive side last year, Flores could be the breath of fresh air needed to turn the Pittsburgh defense into one of the best in the league.

I was afraid that the league would treat Flores similar to how they treated Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick stood against the league and stood up for what he believed in and hasn’t played in the league since 2016 and will probably never take another snap in the NFL. It was good that the Steelers gave Flores a shot before the same thing could happen to him.

Even though he has a job, Flores will not stop moving forward with his class-action lawsuit as this is not just about him.

“We congratulate Coach Flores on his new position with the Steelers and thank Coach Tomlin and the organization for giving him this great opportunity,” Flores’ attorneys said in a statement via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “While Coach Flores is now focused on his new position, he will continue with his race discrimination class action so that real change can be made to the NFL.”

Kudos to the Pittsburgh Steelers for being the only team to have the guts to hire Flores. I hope this is just a stepping stone for him to get back to his ultimate goal of being a head coach. Being with Tomlin and the host of stars the Steelers have on the defense, it’s only a matter of time before Flores will be back as the lead man for someone’s franchise.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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