PITTSBURGH – For one minute each day, Brian Flores allows himself to think about the future.
But Flores isn’t thinking about the future as it relates to the lawsuit he filed against the NFL and some of its teams alleging racial discrimination in its hiring and firing practices, or his potential of earning another head-coaching job.
Instead, he’s focused on his day-to-day job as a Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant working primarily with inside linebackers.
“It’s probably somewhere along the lines of, ‘You know, tomorrow we’ll get that right,’ or ‘In this next period we’ll get that right,'” he said Wednesday. “But I’m on an every-day journey to try to improve and get better. And that’s what I want for myself and our players.”
He added, “My focus is really on today, this team, this practice. I try to live in the moment and not think about things that have happened in the past or really went too far in the future. I’m really excited about the opportunity here. “
Flores, 41, was fired by the Miami Dolphins in January after a three-year stint as head coach, despite winning eight of his last nine games. Shortly after his dismissal, Flores filed the lawsuit against the league, the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and the Dolphins.
In the aftermath of the filing, in which Flores claimed the NFL was “rife with racism,” Mike Tomlin reached out to Flores to offer advice. That phone call quickly turned into a job opportunity.
Since he was hired by the Steelers in February, Flores has continued to pursue legal action against the NFL. Flores’ attorneys have fought against the league’s efforts to force the lawsuit into arbitration, and two former NFL coaches, Ray Horton and Steve Wilks, joined the lawsuit.
The NFL recently enhanced the Rooney Rule to give minority candidates more opportunities for positions on coaching staffs and in front offices.
“I think anytime you create a situation where guys get an opportunity, I’m all for that,” Flores said when asked about the adjustments. “But you know, I’ll kind of leave it there.”
While Flores ‘lawsuit continues on, he is squarely focused on his on-field duties, and he’s drawing rave reviews from Steelers’ staff members and players.
“He’s doing a heck of a job,” Tomlin said. “He’s providing great insight and instruction. He’s a hand in the pile guy.”
Though Flores, who won four Super Bowls as a defensive coach under Bill Belichick in New England, primarily works with inside linebackers such as former first-round pick Devin Bush, he collaborates with the rest of the defensive staff on other positions, too.
“I equate it to a player who’s got a lot of talents – you use those talents,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “You don’t try to harness it and use it all in one spot. He’s been doing a lot of things for us, he’s been working linebackers, secondary, D-line because he brings a wealth of knowledge and you don’t want to stifle that. “