Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin recently spoke at a post-practice press conference at the conclusion of Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp session that has been featured on the team’s YouTube channel regarding several topics. When asked about new senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach and what he brings to the LB room as well as his ongoing lawsuit against the NFL, Tomlin made sure to keep the coach’s personal life and workings on the field as separate entities.
“Very easily,” Tomlin responded to the question of keeping Flores’ stuff off the field separate of the work he is doing on the field with his football team. “None of our business. We’re focused on the work that he does here in the capacity in which he’s employed to work here and he’s doing a heck of a job. He’s providing great insight instruction. He’s a ‘hand in the pile’ guy. We’re glad to have him.”
The Steelers hired Flores back in February to a senior defensive assistant that will specialize in helping the inside linebackers after he got fired by the Miami Dolphins after several seasons as their head coach. Flores is currently suing the NFL along with multiple individual teams for racial discrimination.
While Tomlin recognized that he was in position to throw Flores “a lifeline” after his unceremonious exit from Miami in a video interview with Mark Bergin and former Steeler Ike Taylor, Tomlin also states multiple times that he is adding a talented, highly-qualified coach that operates as a great teacher to his players.
Multiple players, including LBs Devin Bush and Myles Jack, have praised the hire of Flores since starting up OTAs and mandatory minicamp, with Jack going so far to say that the hiring of Flores was one of the key reasons why he decided to come to Pittsburgh as a free agent this offseason. Both players praised Flores’ ability to teach defensive concepts and technique, being detail-oriented in everything he does which helps lead to success on the football field.
OLB Alex Highsmith has also praised Flores and his intelligence in just his brief time working with him this offseason, saying that he understands why he has been a head coach in the league so much longer than many others.
Since being brought on the coaching staff a few months ago, Brian Flores has already left a profound impact on the players he has had the opportunity to teach and invest in as well as Coach Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff as referenced by Tomlin’s comments. He has taken up the role of a teacher for a team that features plenty of young, talented players that need that extra instruction to achieve on their potential.
Now, this isn’t to say that Flores is going to make the likes of Jack, Bush, and Edmunds into Pro Bowlers, but rather that having a coach of his caliber in an assistant role when he can give teaching man-to-man with the guys that need it most can be an invaluable asset for their respective development.
Tomlin said it best that Flores has been a ‘hand in the pile’ guy up until this point in Pittsburgh, not being above the simple teaching and instruction of players despite being a former head coach with back-to-back winning seasons in Miami. Hopefully, Flores gets the opportunity to become a head coach again in the NFL in the near future like Tomlin and many of the players in Pittsburgh believe he rightfully deserves. Until then, the Steelers get the benefit of having a coach of his caliber investing in their young defensive pieces which Tomlin greatly appreciates.