Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who has filed a lawsuit against the NFL alleging racist hiring practices, was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday as an assistant coach.
Flores was hired as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach on the Steelers’ staff of Mike Tomlin, who for a time this off-season was the only Black head coach in the NFL.
“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Tomlin said in a statement. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”
The Dolphins fired Flores, who is Black, last month after three seasons guiding Miami. The team went 24-25, including a 9-8 campaign in 2021, but failed to make the playoffs in his tenure.
Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and the Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos claiming racial discrimination.
Flores said the Broncos and Giants conducted “sham” interviews with him to fulfill terms of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which required interviews of minority candiates outside the club when considering candidates for head coach and other posts.
The league called his lawsuit “without merit” and the clubs denied his allegations.
But the NFL is investigating his claims against Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who Flores said in the lawsuit offered to pay him $100,000 for every loss in his first season as coach because he wanted the team to finish as poorly as possible to have a higher pick in the next year’s NFL Draft.
Flores interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs before and after filing his lawsuit, but the Giants, Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints hired other canidates.
The NFL now has three Black head coaches following Houston’s hiring of Lovie Smith and Miami’s hiring of Mike McDaniel, who is multi-racial.
Flores joins a Pittsburgh staff that saw defensive coordinator Keith Butler retire after seven years in that job and 19 years as a Steelers assistant.
Teryl Austin replaced Butler, leaving behind the job that was filled by Flores.