Head Coach Mike Tomlin & Flores’ Lawyers React To The Steelers Hiring Of Brian Flores

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, the team announced on Saturday afternoon.

Flores was named the team’s Senior Defensive Assistant/Linebackers coach. 

Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin released a statement shortly after the hiring was official. “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,” Tomlin said in his statement. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”

Flores joins an excellent defensive coaching room led by defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. The Steelers star pass rusher, T.J. Watt, tied the single season sack record in 2021. The Steelers defense already has two quality pieces with Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but adding a coaching mind like Flores only adds to the defensive fire power.

As for Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported today that the suit is still on.

Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL alleges racial discrimination throughout the interview processes with the Denver Broncos and New York Giants and in his firing by the Miami Dolphins last month.

Flores lawyers released a statement shortly after the Steelers hiring.

“We congratulate Coach Flores on his new position with the Steelers and thank Coach Tomlin and the organization for giving him this great opportunity,” the lawyers said.  “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.”

Flores allegations against the Dolphins include that he was fired by the Dolphins because he refused to engage in tampering or fixing of games. Flores said that he was pressured to intentionally tank so that the team could get a first overall draft pick.

Flores was fired in January by the Dolphins after leading them to an impressive 9-8 record in 2021 after an ugly 1-7 start. Flores was 24-25 in three years and was coming off of two consecutive winning seasons.

In the lawsuit, Flores accused Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of offering to pay him $100,000 per loss so the team could get the first overall draft pick.

In a statement, Ross denied the allegations, stating, “His [Flores] allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. We understand there are media reports stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully.”

One of the main questions surrounding Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL, is if other coaches will join him.

Former Browns head coach Hue Jackson showed support for Brian Flores on Twitter following the announcement that Flores is suing the NFL over racial discrimination.

The director of Jackson’s foundation, Kim Diemert, tweeted earlier this month that they have records that could help Flores case against the NFL.

She went on to say that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell knew about the allegations and covered it up.

Dimert accused the Browns of paying Brown, DePodesta and Berry bonus money along with then head coach Hue Jackson to tank the 2016 and 2017 season. 

This obviously strengthens Flores’ argument in court, if true.

Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis revealed earlier this month on ESPN that he saw media reports in 2002 that the Panthers were planning to appoint John Fox as their next head coach, but the Panthers persuaded him to come in for an interview regardless.

Lewis believes that then-Panthers owner Jerry Richardson only wanted to be able to say he interviewed a Black applicant, despite Richardson telling him at the time that it was a serious interview and that he hadn’t made up his mind whether or not to hire Fox.

The Rooney Rule came into effect just a year later.

The two main stories in the NFL could be off the field currently, with Dan Snyder and the Washington Commanders under probe with Congress watching, and the Flores lawsuit.