When the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Brian Flores was hired nearly a year ago, it was understood to be a short-term job. A bridge in the city full of them, a landing spot for Flores to stick to while he waited for his next opportunity. That opportunity came this year, hired by the Minnesota Vikings as their new defensive coordinator. In his introductory presser Wednesday, Flores said he was grateful for his short stay in Pittsburgh.
“The Rooney family, Mike T, Omar [Khan]” Flores mentioned in thanking several people that helped bring him to Minnesota. “My time in Pittsburgh was tremendous although short-lived. I felt like I made some great relationships there that will last a long, long time. My time there was great.”
Tomlin hired Flores last February after he was seemingly black-balled by the rest of the league. Fired by the Miami Dolphins, Flores filed suit against multiple NFL teams and the league itself over accusations of racial discriminations with the team’s hiring practices. He also alleged Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross promised him $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season.
After losing out on head coaching and defensive coordinator opportunities, Tomlin hired Flores. Initially, Tomlin reached out solely as a support system but when it became obvious Flores wasn’t going to coach anywhere else, offered him a job. Something Tomlin referred to in his conversation with The Pivot last summer.
He became the team’s Senior Defensive Assistant and Linebackers Coach, primarily working with the inside linebackers. It’s also believed Flores helped assist Tomlin with challenges and gameday management on Sundays.
Flores remained on-staff at the start of the offseason. He joined the Steelers down at the Senior Bowl for the first two practices. He left shortly before Wednesday’s practice ended and as he exited the tunnel, he walked out with Mike Tomlin one last time. Flores is now in Minnesota and may again become a head coach in 2024. But it was Pittsburgh and Tomlin who provided that support in 2022. Without that, Flores may have fallen out of the league’s eye and who knows if he’d be in Minnesota right now, a notion Flores obviously acknowledged and is appreciative of today.