New England Patriots

Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins shakes hands with head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after a Dolphins victory at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

After suing the NFL for alleged racial discrimination, marked by smoking-gun text messages from Bill Belichick, Brian Flores seemed to burn the bridge between himself and not just the Patriots head coach but the entire league.

The litigation will continue, but it will happen as Flores regained employment in the NFL as a senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Flores isn’t souring on Belichick, either, despite his role in the lawsuit.

Speaking on “I Am Athlete,” hosted by Omar Kelly, Brandon Marshall, and Chad Ochocinco, Flores clarified that he’s not harboring resentment toward Belichick over his role in the case.

“I’m not mad,” Flores said. “I mean, Bill did what a lot of us [do]. He sent a text message to the wrong person. I’m certainly guilty of that before. To me, I thought it was specific to the lawsuit in that it confirmed a lot of things that I thought were going on, that I think a lot of black, minority coaches think are going on, where it kind of confirmed it to me as far as having a fair, equal opportunity to go interview and show your acumen, show your intelligence, show your ability to lead, show your willingness and your leadership, and oftentimes it’s not a fair and equal playing field.”

Belichick inadvertently helped spur the legal action when he mistakenly sent congratulatory texts to Flores on getting the New York Giants’ head coaching job, which actually went to Brian Daboll. The texts came before Flores met with the Giants, which indicated to him that the team was conducting what the lawsuit termed a “sham” interview just to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule. The Giants have since denied that they officially decided on hiring Daboll before interviewing Flores.

In a previous interview with NPR’s Jay Williams, Flores said that Belichick was a “clear example” of someone involved in “back-channel conversations and back-channel meetings that are had that oftentimes influence [hiring] decisions,” and that Belichick’s role in the Giants’ decision is “part of the problem” with the way teams flout the Rooney Rule and facilitate an unfair process for minority coaching candidates.

But his comments on “I Am Athlete” indicate that it’s nothing personal between him and the Patriots head coach, whom he agreed was “certainly” the greatest coach of all time. He also shared a perspective on Belichick’s coaching style that may surprise those who believe he runs a totalitarian regime in New England.

“I think the one thing people don’t know about Bill is, he listens,” Flores said. “You’ve got to earn the right for him to listen. But if you have an idea, if you have a thought … if there’s a matchup that we can win, he will listen.”

Flores also recently interviewed with Bryant Gumbel for his “Real Sports” show on HBO, which airs Tuesday night. Via NESN’s Zack Cox, Flores said he hasn’t spoken with Belichick since he filed the lawsuit and never discussed a return to New England. So while it seems that Flores isn’t holding onto any hard feelings, it’s unclear how Belichick feels at this point.

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Patriots may need to replace over half of offensive coaching staff

  • This offseason has seen the Patriots offensive coaching staff shaken up in a major way. It began with the Raiders hiring former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who then took three assistants with him to Las Vegas. There is a potential retirement on the way as well, adding up to five of the nine primary offensive coaches from last season not being back in the building next year.

    The 2021 staff took many players new to the system – including a rookie quarterback – and built a unit that ranked six in scoring in the NFL. Who from that group won’t be or likely won’t be returning in 2022? Here’s a look…

  • Josh McDaniels

    Jul 30, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reacts during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    McDaniels, of course, highlights the group of departures this offseason. The former offensive coordinator turned Raiders head coach has been a part of the Patriots for almost the entire Bill Belichick era. Originally hired as a personnel assistant in 2001, McDaniels first defined coaching job with the Patriots was on the defensive side of the ball  as a defensive assistant in 2002 and 2003.

    It wasn’t until his fourth year that McDaniels became a part of the offensive coaching staff, when he was named the quarterbacks coach in 2004. Two years later, he had offensive coordinator added to his title, a role he held until leaving to coach the Denver Broncos in 2009. After a quick stop in St. Louis, McDaniels returned as the Patriots’ OC in 2012 and had held that role since.

  • Mick Lombardi

    Lombardi is getting a bump in title as he heads to Vegas with McDaniels. The Patriots’ wide receivers coach in 2020 and 2021, Lombardi will be the offensive coordinator with the Raiders in 2022.

    Lombardi’s NFL career began with the Patriots’ scouting department in 2011. In 2013, he left for a coaching role with the San Francisco 49ers, and later the New York Jets. He returned to the Patriots in 2019 as the assistant quarterbacks coach before moving to receivers the next year. Lombardi coached receivers with Troy Brown in 2021, making Brown a candidate to fill the role entirely in 2022.

  • Carmen Bricillo

    The Patriots will see a change with their offensive line coaching situation for the fourth straight offseason, as Bricillo heads to Vegas to be the Raiders’ offensive line coach. After spending 13 years coaching in college, Bricillo joined New England’s staff in 2019 as a coaching assistant.

    The next year, following the retirement of Dante Scarnecchia, he was named co-offensive line coach alongside Cole Popovich. Bricillo had ‘co’ dropped from the title when Popovich left the team before the 2021 season. Current assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates, who joined the Patriots last year, is a candidate to replace him.

  • Bo Hardegree

    After bouncing around the NFL as a quarterbacks coach and offensive assistant from 2014-2020, Hardegree was given both titles in New England in 2021. As the co-quarterbacks coach with McDaniels, he worked with Mac Jones during his successful rookie season. Hardegree will now work with Derek Carr as the Raiders’ quarterbacks coach.

  • Ivan Fears

    Dec 2, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears celebrates a win over the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 2, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears celebrates a win over the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

    Although it’s not official yet, multiple reports have indicated Fears plans to retire at some point this offseason. The 67-year-old is one of the few staffers who has been with the Patriots longer than Belichick – he first worked for the team as a receivers coach in 1991 and 1992, then after a short stint with the Chicago Bears returned to that job in 1999 before taking over his current job as running backs coach in 2002. Vinnie Sunseri was the Patriots’ assistant running backs coach last year, and wide receivers coach Troy Brown has experience coaching the position as well.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at