Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores is one of the rising stars in the NFL coaching circles. Flores was initially hired by the Patriots in 2004 after starring as a linebacker for Boston College, and eventually worked his way into the defense in 2011. In 2012, Flores became the safeties coach, working with current Patriots safeties Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon before getting promoted to his current position as linebackers coach in 2016. Two years later, Flores is primed to succeed defensive coordinator Matt Patricia with the latter moving on to the Detroit Lions to be their head coach.
Flores is also a hot name in NFL coaching circles, getting as far as interviews with the Arizona Cardinals for their head coaching position. While Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks ultimately landed the job, the fact that Flores got an interview with a team that hired a minority coach while not even taking on a coordinator job speaks volumes about his future prospects. With him likely getting the defensive coordinator role, as long as the Patriots continue to defy the laws of parity, his name will continue to get hotter on coaching searches. Flores is well respected in the Patriots locker room as both a coach and leader.
Yesterday, ESPN’s Ian O’Connor published a piece detailing Flores’ upbringing from being the son of Honduran immigrants to successful NFL coach. Flores grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, an area chock full of public housing, poverty, and crime. Brian’s brother, Danny, described their living situation as this:
“A bunch of our friends from middle school were in gangs,” said Danny, now an equipment manager and graduate student at Columbia University, “and our parents didn’t want us involved in that culture and lifestyle. I was leaving school once and saw a kid running for his life from a gang member. I went straight home. That’s a hard thing to see when you’re 13 years old.”
A combination of great parenting, hard work, and opportunity allowed for Flores and his siblings to overcome the poverty barrier and ultimately develop into outstanding people.
The article continues with how Flores fell in love with the game of football. His uncle, a retired firefighter and cancer survivor, took Flores and his brothers to a park used by the local youth football league to experience the game firsthand. Flores wound up developing into a star football player as both a defensive end and running back. His talents wound up taking him to Poly Prep Country Day, where Flores starred as both a football player and student, thanks to the Jordan Scholars program that enrolled athletes from poor income backgrounds.
The school didn’t lose a single game with Flores on the varsity squad, winning all but one game in three years. Flores then ended up finishing his football playing career at Boston College, where he starred as a linebacker for the Eagles in 1999-2003 before an injury ended any dreams of playing in the NFL. The following summer the Patriots hired him and the rest is history.
It’s a great piece overall because it’s the type of story that makes sports, especially football, and America great. The game of football is always about overcoming adversity, and perhaps no coach or player on the Patriots the last 17 years has overcome more adversity than Brian Flores. I do believe that he will wind up being an NFL head coach in the not-to-distant future and be successful at that job.