The Arizona Cardinals have requested permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers to interview senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores for their head coach vacancy, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday and general manager Steve Keim resigned after a 4-13 season that followed an 11-6 2021 campaign. Arizona has also requested interviews with former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, and is expected to interview Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
Flores interviewed with the Cleveland Browns for their defensive coordinator opening on Thursday. He has also been linked to head coaching vacancies with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, though he has not officially interviewed with either of those teams.
Flores is believed to be one of the front-runners for the Browns job, but it’s unclear if he would take it while still receiving attention for head coaching positions.
The Steelers hired Flores to be their senior defensive assistant back in February, after he was fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins and unable to find another head coach or coordinator position after suing the NFL and alleging racial bias in hiring practices, among other things, last January.
With Flores and new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin running the ship, the Steelers defense improved dramatically from 2021. The Steelers went from the No. 20 scoring defense to No. 10, and went from No. 32 against the run to No. 9, despite missing star outside linebacker T.J. Watt for seven games.
Regardless of whether it’s as a coordinator or head coach, it seems likely the Flores will receive a promotion at some point this offseason, and leave the Steelers with a defensive vacancy to fill.