The news of Brian Flores being hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers seemingly came out of nowhere. And to hear Flores tell the story of how he got the job, the job materialized very quickly. Flores joined HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to talk about his pending lawsuits against the league and his job with the Steelers.
As transcribed by Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper, here’s how the process went down:
“Flores said that it “all happened very fast” because he called Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin “to get some counsel” about his next steps last Thursday. The two men spoke again on Friday and “that conversation turned into an opportunity” with the team that Flores accepted on Friday night.”
To hear Flores tell it, he initially talked to Tomlin for general advice of how to handle his situation. Flores had been fired by the Miami Dolphins and has since filed suit against them, multiple other teams, and the NFL for racial discrimination. With that lawsuit pending, it seemed unlikely Flores would land a job until the suit was resolved.
But Tomlin apparently talked to Flores the following day and decided to offer him the job of Senior Defensive Assistant/Linebackers Coach, going from counsel to coaching in 24 hours. The team officially announced the hiring Saturday afternoon.
Speaking with local media Monday, Kevin Colbert briefly outlined the process of hiring Flores, noting that Tomlin first came to him about it.
“When he brought Coach Flores’ name up as a potential, I was excited about it because Coach Flores is a successful defensive coordinator and head coach,” he said via a transcript provided by the team. “The thing that’s really intriguing about Brian is he’s also had a background, he started off in the personnel world. So, I’m excited to get with him and see what kind of ideas he can bring us both from a coaching viewpoint as well as a personnel viewpoint.”
Flores went on to tell Gumbel he believes Tomlin offered him the job in part to help out another black coach in the league.
“But I do feel like 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. And I think — I think that — that kind speaks to what we’re talkin’ about.”
Tomlin is one of two black head coaches in the league, joining only the Texans’ Lovie Smith, who was hired earlier this offseason (Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel is also biracial). If there was a team with the stability, culture, and desire to hire Flores, it’s the Steelers. And while Flores is certainly overqualified to be just an assistant/positional coach, Pittsburgh could serve as a springboard for the rest of his coaching career.
Flores’ interview with Gumbel will air in full tonight on HBO.