CLEVELAND (AP) — Brian Flores landed in the AFC North last season. He might be ready to make a move inside the division.
Flores, who joined coach Mike Tomlin’s staff in Pittsburgh following his messy departure in Miami, is interviewing with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday to be their new defensive coordinator.
Flores is the second candidate to meet with the Browns this week. On Wednesday, they interviewed former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who spent the past two seasons as a defensive senior adviser with Tennessee.
The Browns also have asked permission to interview New England linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and Seattle associate head coach Sean Desai.
Flores is on the radar of several other teams, and it’s possible he could be looking to get another shot as a head coach. The 41-year-old went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins before being fired.
After his dismissal, Flores, who is Black, filed a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against the team and NFL.
The Browns missed the playoffs for the second straight year after going 7-10, and their defense was a major reason for the down season.
Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski fired Joe Woods after three seasons as his defensive coordinator. The defense ranked 20th in scoring and 14th in overall yardage this season.
However, the Browns’ biggest defensive problem was its inability to stop the run. Cleveland gave up 135.2 yards per game.
Flores helped fix a similar issue in one season with the Steelers. He worked primarily with the team’s linebackers as Pittsburgh allowed 645 fewer rushing yards than the previous season and 10 fewer rushing touchdowns.
“He’s a great coach,” Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith said. “I remember when we first found the news out that he was coming here, I was super excited because I had met him before, I met him at the combine and stuff and interviews and stuff. He’s such a great coach, football-minded. He wants the best out of each one of his guys, but he’s definitely added so much value to our defense. He’s definitely been one of our good coaches.”