Flores centered on new job with Steelers, not NFL lawsuit | Sports activities

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brian Flores is making an attempt to deal with the little image, not the large one.

So whereas the landmark class-action lawsuit Flores filed in opposition to the NFL and three groups in February over what he considers racist hiring practices winds its manner by way of the authorized system, Flores insists his consideration is centered on what occurs on the sector, not off it.

The Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant burdened Wednesday he’s intent on separating the eye surrounding the lawsuit from the calls for of his new job making an attempt to assist Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin repair a protection that struggled for lengthy stretches in 2021.

“I try to live in the moment and not think about things that have happened in the past or really look too far into the future,” Flores stated. “I’m excited about the opportunity here.”

Flores, who’s Black, was fired by the Miami Dolphins in January after three seasons regardless of a robust end in 2021 wherein the workforce gained eight of its ultimate 9 video games. Three weeks later he took the league, the Dolphins, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos to court docket, claiming the NFL was “rife with racism.”

Tomlin reached out to Flores in mid-February and provided him a job as a defensive assistant specializing in linebackers. Flores jumped on the alternative, even because it put him within the uncommon function of taking a paycheck from a membership affiliated with a league whose management he described as hypocritical in court docket papers.

Asked if he feared the pending litigation would jeopardize potential job alternatives, Flores demurred. Asked what he makes of steps the NFL has revamped the previous a number of months to increase alternatives for minorities — starting this season, all 32 golf equipment should make use of a feminine or a member of an ethnic or racial minority to function an offensive assistant coach, for instance — Flores was well mannered however measured.

“I think anytime you create a situation where guys get an opportunity, I’m all for that,” he stated. “But you know, I’ll kind of leave it there.”

The NFL is making an attempt t o have the lawsuit moved to arbitration, a maneuver the attorneys for Flores and former NFL coaches Ray Horton and Steve Wilkes argue is “unconscionable.”

Tomlin, one among three Black coaches in a league the place the vast majority of gamers are Black, referred to as the lawsuit “none of (the team’s) business” and is not concerned about it becoming a distraction.

“He’s doing a heck of a job,” Tomlin stated. “He’s providing great insight and instruction. He’s a ‘hand in the pile’ guy.”

Flores’ essential accountability is working with Pittsburgh’s inside linebackers, although he’s collaborating with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Tomlin on a number of points of a protection looking for a jumpstart after Pittsburgh completed final within the league in opposition to the run in 2021.

“I equate (him) to a player who has a lot of talent,” Austin stated. “You use those talents and you don’t try to keep him in one spot.”

Flores, who gained 4 Super Bowls whereas engaged on Bill Belichick’s workers in New England earlier than being employed by the Dolphins in 2019, has made an instantaneous impression with the directness of his message.

“I’m demanding and you recognize, I make no bones about it,” he said.

It’s an approach that is resonating with the players he is charged with leading.

“I mean obviously, he’s a head coach,” free agent signee Myles Jack said. “So his perspective, his approach to things is going to be more clear cut. (Like), ‘This is what it is, this is what it is not.’ I enjoy that because I know exactly what I’m doing and I can play fast.”

The wrangling between Flores and the NFL will likely extend into the season. The deadline for written arguments regarding whether arbitration should be required isn’t until August.

The 41-year-old father of three is attempting to have tunnel vision when it comes to his job. Though he is trying to live in the present, he said he thinks about the future for maybe “one minute” a day.

When pressed about specifics on what that future might entail, Flores reiterated it had everything to do with football and nothing to do with the potential long-term ramifications of his high-profile, high-stakes showdown with a league that is both a highly lucrative business and a cultural behemoth.

“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. “But I’m on a, you know, an everyday journey to try to improve and get better. And that’s what I want for myself and our players.”


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