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Brian Flores is back in the NFL

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brian Flores is back in the NFL.

The Pittsburgh Steelers hired the former Miami Dolphins coach on Saturday to serve as their primary defensive assistant. Flores will specialize in working with the Pittsburgh linebackers, 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 for alleged racist hiring practices following his firing by Miami. Flores led the Dolphins to consecutive winning seasons before being fired in January.

Flores has maintained that his trial will continue even if he finds another coaching job. He joins a restructured defensive team in Pittsburgh following the retirement of longtime coordinator Keith Butler. Teryl Austin was promoted to take Butler’s place earlier this month.

“I am thrilled to have Brian Flores join our coaching staff given his experience developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. “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 one of three black men to coach teams last season. The other two, Flores and David Culley of Houston, were fired. Houston then hired Lovie Smith, who is black, and Miami hired Mike McDaniel, who is biracial.

“The Steelers organization is FIRST CLASS,” said veteran Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden, who will become a free agent in March. tweeted after the announcement of Flores’ hiring.

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores walks off the field next to team owner Stephen Ross, left, after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 24, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (John McCall/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Sentinel of the Sun via Getty Images

Flores’ lawsuit alleges the league discriminated against Flores and other black coaches on racial grounds, denying them positions as head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators and quarterback coaches, as well as general managers. Flores also claims that Miami offered him $100,000 per loss in his first season with the team in 2019 in an attempt to receive a first draft pick.

The NFL has maintained that the lawsuit is “without merit”, although commissioner Roger Goodell said before the Super Bowl that “all allegations, whether based on racism or discrimination or the integrity of our game, all of them to me were very disturbing.”

The lawsuit also prompted the league to revisit the “Rooney Rule,” a policy named after former Steelers owner Dan Rooney. Introduced in 2003, the policy has expanded to require NFL teams to interview multiple minority candidates for high-level vacancies, including head coach and general manager.

Current Steelers president Art Rooney II recently acknowledged that the league has ‘not seen progress in the head coaching ranks’, although he pointed to progress in hiring women and minorities. in various leadership roles.

The Flores lawsuit specifically singles out Austin as an example of a coach affected by hiring racism. Austin, who is black, told The Associated Press he was 0 out of 11 in interviews for head coaching jobs during his nearly 20 years in the NFL.

Now Flores will work under Austin as they try to help Pittsburgh’s defense bounce back from an inferior 2022. The Steelers made the playoffs 9-7-1 but finished 20th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed, the unit’s worst season in more than 30 years.

Flores won four Super Bowl rings as a member of the New England Patriots coaching staff from 2004 to 2018. He spent his final season with New England as a linebacking coach and point guard. defensive play as the Patriots shut down the Los Angeles Rams to win the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl.

The Huffington Gt

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