Steelers hired Brian Flores to “help us win games,” says general manager Kevin Colbert

As evidenced by the decision to hire Brian Flores, the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t afraid of the former Miami Dolphins coach’s class action lawsuit against the NFL, which alleges racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices.

However, general manager Kevin Colbert said, the organization has not made a statement by giving Flores an opportunity to coach the squad’s players in a senior defensive assistant role.

“He says we have hired a high-quality defensive coach who can help us win games,” Colbert said on Monday. “Beyond that, there’s nothing else to say.”

Flores, 40, was kicked out by the Dolphins after collecting back-to-back winning seasons that raised his record to 24-25 in three years in Miami. He named the Dolphins, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants in his lawsuit against the NFL.

A suit like this could make the coach untouchable, but the Steelers ended any speculation about whether Flores would get another coaching opportunity.

Colbert said he had little input in coach Mike Tomlin’s decision to add Flores to the coaching staff. The Steelers got a chance after Keith Butler retired as defensive coordinator and senior defensive assistant Terrell Austin was promoted to replace Butler.

“Coach Tomlin hires every coach,” Colbert said. “He’ll come to me at different times and say, ‘I’m interviewing so-and-so, do you know anything about him or can you find out some things about him. When he introduced the name of coach Flores as a potential employee, I was excited about it.

“Coach Flores has been a successful defensive coordinator and head coach. The really interesting thing about Brian is that he started in the staff world. I’m excited to join him and see what kind of ideas he can give us from a training point of view as well as from an individual point of view.”

Flores was 23 years old when he joined the New England Patriots in 2003 as an assistant scout. He became a professional scout before joining coach Bill Belichick’s staff in 2008. He coached special teams, security and linebackers while making defensive play calls late in his tenure with the Patriots.

Other items covered by Colbert:

• The Steelers remain open to the defensive end of Stefon Tweet’s return in 2022 even though he did not play last season, and his maximum salary for 2022 is nearly $14 million. A knee injury requiring surgery, along with his brother’s death in a hit-and-run accident, contributed to Tweet’s loss of the 2021 season.

“We are very open to continuing to help him,” Colbert said. “We will continue to assess this situation and what is available to us. We only hope for the best for him as he tries to come back and be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

• One of the things he wished to be able to visit again since 2021 was to provide more experience to the offensive line in the wake of the retirement of Mauricus Bouncy, the injury of David DeCastro and the exits of Matt Weiler and Alejandro Villanueva by free agency. Guard Trai Turner and backup Joe Haeg were the only significant additions to the group, which included rookies Kendrick Green, Dan Moore Jr. and second-year goalkeeper Kevin Dotson.

“If I had any regrets, it’s probably from not adding another expert, an affordable maven that might have lightened the time to grow that group,” Colbert said. “We knew it was going to be a tough year.”

Joe Rotter is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Joe via email at jrutter@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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