On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers shocked the entire NFL with the hiring of former Miami Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores as the team’s new defensive assistant and linebackers coach. He joins Mike Tomlin, one of the most respected African American coaches in the NFL.
Tomlin is happy with the signing and believes big things are yet to come for the young coach. “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 Mike Tomlin in a press release.
Flores spent the previous three seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. After a 5-11 record in his first season, he led the Dolphins to a 10-6 record in 2020 and a 9-7 record in 2021 with a newly-drafted quarterback. His firing in mid-January came as a surprise to many.
He’s joining the Steelers at a time when they need him the most. The team saw Keith Butler retire, who spent the past seven years as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator and 12 years as linebackers coach. The decision led the team to promote Teryl Austin to defensive coordinator.
With Flores’ experience, especially on defense, the Steelers have one of the most talented and diverse coaching staffs in the NFL. Though Ben Roethlisberger retired this offseason, the team is building a contender next season and their defense will play a big role in making that happen.
Steelers’ defensive captain Cam Heyward is excited about the hiring. “Even when Flores was in New England, he got the most out of his defenses. When you start looking at the track record, when you bring in different coaches, you start to get pretty excited,” said Cam Heyward.
How Does Hiring Brian Flores Impact His Lawsuit Against the NFL?
Brian Flores has had a busy month since being let go by the Dolphins. After losing out on the Denver Broncos’ and New York Giants’ head coach openings, Flores decided to sue the NFL – including the Dolphins, Giants, and Broncos – for discrimination during the interview processes.
The lawsuit could be game-changing for minority coaches in the NFL and it comes at a time when the league is dominated by white coaches. It’s about time someone stands up for the many talented minority coaches that don’t receive the same opportunities as white coaches.
Flores’ lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor, released a statement after the Steelers announced the hiring of the 40-year-old coach. “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 in the NFL.”
It creates an interesting scenario where the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are one of the defendants in the lawsuit, have hired Brian Flores, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Despite the lawsuit, both sides are focused on winning next season as Flores works his way back to a head coach position.
For now, we’re happy the Pittsburgh Steelers did what other teams didn’t. Flores is one of the most talented and promising coaches in the league today. He should’ve never been fired by the Giants and he should’ve easily been hired as head coach elsewhere, but that didn’t happen.
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Good luck to Brian Flores, good luck to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and let’s hope the lawsuit ends in a productive manner that brings real change to one of the NFL’s biggest problems – diversity.
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