Old Miami Dolphins Coach Brian Flores returned to the National Football League as a senior defensive assistant and linebacker coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
His return to the NFL comes after Flores filed a federal lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against the NFL, New York Giants and other teams earlier this month.
“I am thrilled to have Brian Flores join our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. statement on saturday.
“Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team,” added Tomlin, who also happens to be the NFL’s only black head coach.
Douglas H. Wigdor, Flores’ attorney, released a statement saying, “We congratulate Coach Flores on his new position with the Steelers and thank Coach Tomlin and the organization for providing him with this great opportunity.”
“As Coach Flores now focuses on his new position, he will continue his class action lawsuit against racial discrimination so that real change can be brought to the NFL,” Wigdor said.
Flores, who is black with Honduran roots, has more than 14 years of coaching experience in the NFL. He most recently served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins between 2019 and 2021. He also held a personal position for the New England Patriots from 2004 to 2007, the Steelers said in a press release.
Prior to joining the Patriots, Flores played football at Boston College as a linebacker from 1999-2002.
During his three seasons with the Dolphins, he led the team to a 24-25 overall record and guided them to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Despite the wins, the Miami Dolphins fired Flores last month, a move that surprised many since Miami hadn’t posted above-average consecutive records since a streak of seven consecutive seasons under Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt of 1997 to 2003.
Following the surprising termination, Flores became one of the league’s top potential coaches and set up an interview with the Giants.
But in the lawsuit, Flores claimed he was coerced into undergoing a fake interview with the Giants, adding that he had an incriminating text message from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to prove it.
“Sorry…I double-checked and misread the text. I think they’re naming Brian Daboll. I’m sorry about that. BB,” Belichick texted Flores, according to the lawsuit.
The Giants indeed hired Daboll shortly after interviewing Flores.
The NFL denied Flores’ claims and said it would fight the lawsuit.
“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring fair employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities across all of our organizations,” the league said in a statement.
“Diversity is at the heart of everything we do, and there are few issues that our clubs and internal management team spend more time on,” he said. “We will defend ourselves against these claims, which are baseless.”
The Giants also said they interviewed Flores in good faith and almost hired him.
The ongoing lawsuit is expected to move forward as originally planned in hopes that it could usher in long-term changes when it comes to diversity among the NFL coaching ranks.
David K. Li and Diana Darsrath contributed.