Pittsburgh Steelers: Brian Flores hiring continues Pittsburgh defensive makeover
Brian Flores will coach in the NFL next season, but in a different role than expected.
The former Miami Dolphins head coach has joined Mike Tomlin’s team in Pittsburgh as a defensive assistant coach/lead linebacker, the Steelers announced Saturday. It’s been a turbulent offseason for Flores, who was unexpectedly fired by the Dolphins after going 9-8 and winning eight of their last nine games. He is sue the nflalleging discriminatory hiring practices against black applicants, but Flores would continue his coaching career by working with one of the league’s most successful coaches in Tomlin.
“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,” Tomlin said in a statement released by the Steelers. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”
The addition of Flores continues the offseason makeover for Pittsburgh’s defensive staff. Teryl Austin, a former Ravens defensive assistant (2011-13), is the new defensive coordinator replacing Keith Butler, who retired after the season. Pittsburgh finished last in the NFL against the run in 2021 and ranked 25th in overall defense, so the changes aren’t surprising.
Pro Bowl defensive end Cam Heyward thinks Pittsburgh’s decision to hire Flores during its ongoing dispute with the NFL sends the right message. The Rooney rule, which was created to increase opportunities for minority coaches, was named after former Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was chairman of the league’s diversity committee. While the effectiveness of the Rooney rule over time is up for debate, Heyward said the Steelers have demonstrated fairness in hiring practices.
“I just think our organization is looking at people who can help, no matter what color they are, where they’re from,” Heyward said. via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The Rooneys have a great record. To have a rule named after you that has been taken advantage of over the last few years is kind of sad. But the Rooneys want to give people a fair jolt and a fair opportunity, and I thinks coach Flores just wanted an opportunity. I think everyone is looking at it because he can help our team rather than hurt them.”
Coming to Pittsburgh will reunite Flores with security star Minkah Fitzpatrick, who hasn’t always seen face to face with Flores in Miami before asking to be traded.