New Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores was just calling Mike Tomlin looking for some advice, when that phone call turned into an opportunity to join the Steelers’ staff.
Flores, speaking with Bryant Gumble of HBO’s Real Sports in an episode that will air Tuesday evening, said he was looking to Tomlin for some mentorship on what his next step should be, after being fired by the Miami Dolphins, suing the NFL and being shut out of the rest of the head coaching vacancies.
“I actually was, you know, calling Coach T, really to get some counsel,” Flores said in an excerpt of the interview provided to Steelers Now by HBO. “I was thinking about the next steps for me just from a coaching standpoint. And then that conversation turned into an opportunity there in Pittsburgh. …
“It all happened very fast. I talked to Coach Tomlin Thursday. Little bit more conversation on Friday. Accepted the job on Friday evening.”
The announcement sent shockwaves around the NFL, with many expecting Flores to be blackballed from the league entirely after filing a class-action suit regarding racial inequities in the league’s hiring and treatment of minority coaches. Flores believes that Tomlin saw another Black coach that had been slighted by the league, and was willing to help out because of that.
“He saw a situation where there was a very experienced coach, who could help his staff, who was also a Black coach in the league,” Flores said. “I think that kind speaks to what we’re talking about.”
Flores revealed that he surrendered two year’s worth of salary in his departure from Miami because he refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Flores and his attorneys also spoke with Gumbel about his relationship with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the NFL’s hiring of former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend the case they have brought against the league.
The episode will air on HBO at 10 p.m. Tuesday and be available streaming on HBO Max.