With the Houston Texans reportedly set to promote Lovie Smith, the New Orleans Saints now are the only NFL team still looking for a new head coach. Brian Flores has interviewed for the job, so it remains possible that he winds up getting the position.
But, if the Saints go in a different direction, Flores could be forced to work as a coordinator in 2022 — if he has an NFL job at all. Naturally, many are wondering whether this could result in the 40-year-old returning to the Patriots, whom he worked for from 2008 through 2018.
Don’t count on it.
Soon after Flores was fired by the Miami Dolphins, we cited the then-nine head coaching vacancies as reasons for why a New England reunion probably was a “pipedream.” And yet, with the coaching cycle now nearly complete, it’s even harder to envision Flores back on the Patriots sideline.
Let’s get into the rationale.
This is complicated. Flores recently filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the NFL of various forms of racial discrimination. In the suit, Flores uses texts allegedly between himself and Bill Belichick to substantiate his claims of the New York Giants hosting him for a sham interview.
He since has admitted to not alerting Belichick about the lawsuit or the inclusion of the texts. And while last week Flores said his time working for Belichick was a positive one, he seemingly also put partial blame on his former boss for what happened with the Giants. Belichick has not issued a statement on the matter since the lawsuit became public.
It’s difficult to determine whether Flores and Belichick are on good terms. However, it’s easy to envision this entire situation as a reason for both parties opting against a reunion, even though that’s just speculation.
The Patriots coaching staff
At the start of the coaching cycle, it appeared as if Jerod Mayo, currently New England’s inside linebackers coach, had a great chance of landing a head coaching gig. Barring something unforeseen, with the Saints or otherwise, Mayo will be back with the Patriots in 2022.
So, too, will outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick, who shares play-calling duties with Mayo. Together, they make up a de facto Patriots defensive coordinator.
Hiring Flores as the new defensive coordinator effectively would result in a demotion for both Mayo and Steve Belichick. Is that something Bill really would be interested in doing? It’s hard to see it, regardless of how good of a coach Flores is.
At the end of the day, the timing for a Flores-Patriots reunion simply isn’t right. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen down the road, including whenever Bill Belichick decides to call it a career.
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