Brian Flores is ‘passionate’ to get a chance to coach football again as an assistant to the Steelers

Six months to the day after he filed a lawsuit against the NFL and his 32-team team alleging racial discrimination in employment practices, the pending lawsuit was the last thing on Brian Flores’ mind on Monday morning in St. Vincent.

The 41-year-old former coach who was hired to work with the Pittsburgh Steelers players was looking to put players on the podiums and tackle their first time camp. He was enjoying isolation in an off-campus location for the first time in his 19-year coaching career in the NFL. He talked about bonding with the other assistants on Mike Tomlin’s crew and sharing philosophies and coaching strategies aimed at improving his new team’s defense.

Flores has not spoken about his lawsuit since joining the Steelers on February 19, as his appointment came less than three weeks after he rocked the NFL with a team suit that specifically called into question hiring practices at the Miami Dolphins – his employer predecessor – the New York Giants and Denver. Broncos.

However, Flores said he is where he wants to be this summer.

“It’s great for me to coach football,” he said. “That’s what I’m excited about. It’s what I love to do, in every aspect. It’s sitting in meetings with our defensive coaches, sitting in our team meetings, going back and forth with the offensive coaches, getting on the field and following individual approaches with the players, getting to Those places where you don’t work with your group…the team element together.

“That’s what I’m excited about. It’s fun to be here. I’m thankful and lucky.”

Flores was fired in Miami after collecting 24-25 records in three years. Although he has a record under 0.500 overall, Flores was let down after leading the Dolphins to back-to-back winning seasons. They went 10-6 amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, overturning a team that started 1-7 last year by winning eight of their last nine games to finish 9-8.

When Flores became available, Tomlin quickly worked to add him to his team. He will play the senior defensive assistant that became open when Terrell Austin was promoted to defensive coordinator.

“He’s a good communicator,” Tomlin said. “He does things that you appreciate from a coach’s perspective in terms of challenging the players, holding them accountable and leading his group. He is a hand in hand man, so it was a good addition.”

Flores said he enjoys having the opportunity to integrate with a defensive staff that includes Austin, veteran defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and linebacker coach Jerry Olsavsky.

“There is no shortage of ideas. I know I have learned a lot in a short amount of time here. That is one of the exciting things for me. I can pick the minds of some really strong offensive and defensive coaches.”

Flores has already made an impact on interior quarterback Miles Jack, who joined the Steelers on free agency after spending his first six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I write pretty much everything he says even if it’s not necessarily related to what we’re learning,” Jack said. “He has a perspective on things coming from being a head coach, and that really made me look at football from a completely different perspective.

“He shows us what the offense is trying to do. Being a head coach, he will show you a 360-degree view of what they are trying to do and how we can beat what they are trying to do. It is almost like playing Battlefield.”

Flores appreciates the opportunity to work in isolation in St Vincent, where the Steelers will remain for the next three weeks. During his 15 seasons with Bill Belichick in New England and his three years in Miami, Flores had no off-site training camp experience.

“There’s a lot to her, a lot of camaraderie,” Flores said. “It’s designed for when you’re sitting around like this and at night the guys spend a lot of time together playing cards or playing Uno or Connect Four. There’s a lot of team building and bonding that goes on.”

And Flores must be a part of, although his lawsuit remains unresolved. He said he never imagined not training this season, but is glad Tomlin and the Steelers acted quickly to give him a second chance.

“I like to think I can coach some football,” Flores said with a smile. “I’m not surprised at all.”

Joe Rotter is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Joe via email at jrutter@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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