Mike Tomlin explains his decision to hire Brian Flores

The Pittsburgh Steelers surprised many by hiring Brian Flores as an assistant coach despite Flores’ ongoing lawsuit against the NFL. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin admitted he felt a certain responsibility to make sure Flores had an opportunity.

Tomlin revealed he reached out to Flores to talk about the former Miami Dolphins coach’s situation amid his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league. This conversation, which Tomlin felt he “owed” Flores, turned into a job offer.

“I just didn’t want him to feel like he was on an island,” Tomlin said Sunday, via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “From a coaching fraternity perspective, I owed him that. I was able to provide that. I think that started our interactions and our conversations.

“During those discussions, especially when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to get a chief position, I think the natural discussion started. He really took its course pretty quickly, to be quite at be honest with you. Because it doesn’t take long to realize that you can use a Brian Flores on your team.

Flores will serve as a senior defensive assistant for the Steelers. He would have preferred a head coaching job, but after filing his complaint it appeared he could find himself completely out of work. Tomlin doesn’t seem to have tried to hire Flores at first, but that’s how things ended up going.

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