Weeks after he sued the NFL for, among other things, racist hiring practices, former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was hired as the defensive assistant/linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The move raised eyebrows across the league because of the pending suit.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin addressed the decision to add Flores to his staff, insinuating that he threw Flores a career life preserver.
“I just didn’t want him to feel like he was on an island. From a coaching fraternity standpoint, I owed him that,” Tomlin told the media ahead of the league owner’s meetings. “I was in position to provide that. I think that started our interactions and conversations.”
Though Flores may be just an assistant and position coach in theory, Tomlin envisions that he will take on an even bigger role than just Xs and Os.
“’Senior defensive assistant and linebacker coach’ is his title, but there’s so many ways that he’s going to help us and help me, in particular. His contributions are going to be significant.”
More Mike Tomlin on Brian Flores: "Senior defensive assistant and linebacker coach is his title, but there’s so many ways that he’s going to help us and help me. … His contributions are going to be significant."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 27, 2022
Flores was hired just over a month ago, and as Tomlin explains, Pittsburgh didn’t need a lot of time to decide to onboard him.
“It really ran its course rather quickly, to be quite honest with you,” said Tomlin. “Because it doesn’t require a lot of time to come to the realization that you can use a Brian Flores on your staff.”
It sure seems as though Tomlin’s giddy about the opportunity to work alongside Flores, the former head coach of Miami and longtime NFL defensive assistant.
“I feel like we kind of vibed about that connection,” Tomlin added. “I’m very excited to work with him and just see what I can learn and see how we can collaborate to make this thing go.”
That “thing” could go well, for all we know. And if it does, the Steelers may soon need a bigger boat.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF