Flores hires Steelers employees; lawsuit against NFL proceeds


Brian Flores is back in the NFL.

The Pittsburgh Steelers hired the former Miami Dolphins coach on Saturday to serve as a senior defensive assistant. Flores will specialize in working with Pittsburgh’s defenders, a group that includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt.

The hiring comes less than three weeks after Flores, who is black, sued the NFL and three teams over alleged racist recruiting practices following his dismissal from Miami. Flores led the Dolphins to consecutive seasons before he was sacked in January.

Despite having returned to coaching in the league, Flores will not give up the lawsuit.

Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and John Elefterakis said: “While Coach Flores is currently focused on his new position, he will continue with his racial discrimination class action lawsuit to potentially create real change in the NFL,” attorneys Douglas Wigdor and John Elefterakis said in a statement Saturday.

Flores joins the restructured defense staff in Pittsburgh following the retirement of longtime coordinator Keith Butler. Teryl Austin was promoted to replace Butler earlier this month.

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

Tomlin is the NFL’s longest-serving Black head coach and was one of only three blacks to lead the teams last season. Two others, Flores and David Culley of Houston, were fired. Houston then hired Lovie Smith, who was Black, and Miami hired Mike McDaniel, who was of two races.

“The Steelers Foundation is the FIRST CLASS,” veteran Pittsburgh full-back Joe Haden, who will become a free agent in March, tweeted after Flores’ hiring was announced.

Flores’ lawsuit alleges the federation discriminated against him and other black coaches on the grounds of race, denying them positions as head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator. , quarterback coach, as well as general manager. Flores also claims Miami offered him $100,000 per loss in his first season with the team in 2019 in an effort to land a top draft pick.

The NFL has maintained the lawsuit is “null and void,” even though commissioner Roger Goodell said before the Super Bowl that “all allegations, whether they are based on racism or discrimination or totalitarianism, are not valid.” integrity of our game, all of that bothers me.”

The lawsuit has also prompted the federation to reconsider the “Rooney Rule,” a policy named after former Steelers owner Dan Rooney. Adopted in 2003, the policy expanded to require NFL teams to interview many minority candidates for high-vacancy positions, including head coaches and general managers.

Current Steelers chairman Art Rooney II admits the league has “not seen progress in the ranks of head coaches” lately, though he did point to strides in hiring women. and minorities into different leadership roles.

Flores’ lawsuit specifically names Austin as an example of a coach influenced by racism in hiring. Austin, who is black, told The Associated Press he was 0-11 years old when he interviewed for his nearly 20-year job as head coach in the NFL.

Flores will now work under Austin as they try to help Pittsburgh’s defense recover from a 2022 subpar. The Steelers entered the knockout stages 9-7-1 but finished 20th with points allowed and 24th in yards allowed, the unit’s worst season in over 30 years.

Flores won four Super Bowl rings as a member of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff from 2004-18. He spent his final season with New England as a quarterback coach and defense caller as the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams to win the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl. commercial.

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