Brian Flores lawsuit is a hot topic among Senior Bowl coaches
MOBILE, Ala. –Jets coach Robert Saleh was asked Wednesday about the NFL’s lack of diverse hiring as well as former colleague Mike McDaniel.
Saleh would rather McDaniel, a finalist to become Dolphins head coach, not end up in the AFC East. But he couldn’t help but rave about McDaniel, the 49ers’ offensive coordinator.
“Mike, people don’t know that, but he’s also a minority,” Saleh noted. “Mike is phenomenal. His mindset, his way of creating things, his way of creating things, his way of thinking out of the box, his ability to connect with people, he’s as good as they come.”
McDaniel has a black father and a white mother. The NFL currently has only one black head coach, Mike Tomlin of the Steelers. Ron Rivera from Washington is Hispanic. Saleh is an American Muslim.
Trial of Brian Flores:Flores: Dolphins tank plan attacked ‘game integrity’
Allegations made against the Dolphins, NFL:Brian Flores sues, alleging Stephen Ross offered to pay for losses
5 things to know, Stephen Ross:Dolphins owner tied to West Palm Beach growth
Have the Giants and Denver Broncos interviewed Brian Flores?
The issue of lack of diversity was brought to the fore by a lawsuit filed by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who is Hispanic. Flores alleges he was involved in “fictional” interviews conducted by the Broncos and Giants.
Has Saleh ever felt like he was part of a “fictitious” interview?
“No,” Saleh said. “I can only speak for myself and my experiences. You try to make people feel good. Our pace knows I’m an eternal optimist. I always see the good in people. This one is tough for me.”
Many coaches are, in general, frustrated with the process and the lack of results. Many coaches are, in general, down for the lack of minority hires by NFL owners.
Many NFL employees are also hesitant to speak specifically about Flores’ lawsuit. But they are ready to discuss the issue more broadly.
“Everyone has their own philosophy on how it can happen and how it can go better,” Saleh said. “I could sit here for hours and talk about our experiences here with the Jets and what we’re trying to do, but I think with the leadership of Troy Vincent and all the different people in the NFL office, I know they are working diligently to try to rectify and propel minorities into leading roles. Is it difficult right now? Sure. But I know the NFL is trying hard and it’s will eventually get there.
While he wouldn’t comment specifically on Flores’ costume, Saleh called Flores “a stand-up guy” and a “really, really good man.”
Saleh is the national team coach at the Senior Bowl. His Team USA counterpart is former Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell.
Campbell also didn’t want to specifically address the lawsuit. But he commented on owner Stephen Ross allegedly offering Flores a financial incentive for losing games in 2019.
“I can’t think of any negative interaction I had with Steve Ross,” Campbell said. “Or anyone involved there.”
The races of NFL coaches hired so far in 2022
In this coaching cycle, the four candidates already hired are white (Josh McDaniels, Matt Eberflus, Nathaniel Hackett and Brian Daboll).
Minority candidates tied to openings with Miami, New Orleans, Minnesota, Jacksonville and Houston include Byron Leftwich, Aaron Glenn, Patrick Graham and Flores, who has interviewed the Saints and Texans.
Glenn is the defensive coordinator for the Campbell’s Lions. While he would rather not lose Glenn to the Saints, Campbell supports his coach.
“What he brought to us in the locker room,” Campbell said. “What he’s given to our defense. And knowing where it’s going to go. I’m telling you he’s going to be a home run as a head coach. He’s passionate. He’s smart. He’s got a good idea of the staff, how to use his He’s been trained the way I have to collectively think about it He’s organized He’s thorough He’s kind of a chess player if you will.
In the Senior Bowl, Lions assistant coach Duce Staley is the interim head coach of Campbell’s team. And Ron Middleton, like Staley, a minority coach candidate, is the active head coach of Saleh’s team.
The NFL hopes such training opportunities will have a positive impact.
Campbell noted that Staley, the Lions’ assistant head coach, did well when addressing his entire team “from the front of the room.”
“Duce was up for the challenge,” Campbell said. “Deuce is another one. I definitely think he’ll be a head coach in this league and I think he’ll be damn good. Because he’s a leader. A leader of the men. He’s running everything here. He’s planning everything. He meets the players. He knocked him out of the park. He’s a stallion.”
Saleh feels the same way about McDaniel, who is set to have a second interview with the Dolphins at the end of this week.
“(Mike) has been with Kyle (Shanahan) longer than any of us,” Saleh said. “He’s been there since he and I were (quality control coaches), sitting across from each other with the Houston Texans in 2006. He’s brilliant and he totally deserves to be a coach. -Chief. I wouldn’t want him to come to the division. But if he does, so be it.