Throughout the Browns' search for a new head coach,ClevelandBrowns.comwill break down the candidates after their interview with the team is complete. It continues today with a look at Brian Flores, who has been in New England for all 11 years he's been in the NFL.
1. Though his title is linebackers coach, Flores has much more than one position group on his plate. Shortly after defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Lions, Flores assumed the play-calling duties for the 2018 season. It's not the norm, but it's happened before in New England during Bill Belichick's time with the team, as Patricia called plays without the coordinator title during the 2010 and 2011 season while Bill O'Brien did the same with the offense in previous seasons. Under Flores' watch this season, the Patriots ranked seventh in the league in scoring defense and fifth in total takeaways.
2. Flores' specialty is defense, but he's touched just about every part of the Patriots' football operations during his 11 seasons with the team. He broke in the business on the scouting side and worked in player personnel until 2008. From 2008-11, Flores worked as an assistant in all three phases, starting with special teams before moving on to offense and defense. It's a similar path Belichick carved on his way to becoming a head coach. Belichick was a special teams assistant and wide receivers coach with the Lions before he took on his first defensive-focused job in 1978.
3. Flores gained a bit of notoriety after the Patriots' victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Cameras captured Flores sending Malcolm Butler into the game, shouting "Malcolm go!" as the Patriots clung to a lead in the final moments. Butler went on to make one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history, intercepting Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on the goal line to win the game for New England. "It was definitely the greatest thrill in my football career," Flores told reporters last year. "We had spent so much time preparing for a variety of situations and that was one of them, especially in the red area. We were ready for it. Malcolm made a hell of a play but the entire group was ready for it."
4. Flores was a running back and linebacker at Poly Prep High in Brooklyn but began his college career as a defensive back. He transitioned to linebacker after two seasons. The Eagles won bowl games in all four of the seasons Flores played. Along the way, he earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's in administration. He credits Bill McGovern, who was his linebackers coach at the time and is now the linebackers coach for the Lions, for pushing him toward a career in coaching. "He was a great mentor to me and he is the reason that I got into coaching," Flores told BCEagles.com. "He had a great impact on me and now, I want to do that for other people."
5. Upon graduating from Boston College, Flores wrote a letter to every NFL team. The Patriots were the only one to respond, and the rest is history. "I had my foot in the door, and it was what I wanted to do," Flores said. "Hopefully it would lead to something even better further down the line." According to an ESPN feature, Flores grew up in the housing projects of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was one of five boys living with his parents, who were Honduran immigrants. "It shaped me in a lot of ways," he told ESPN. "It made me tough. I learned how to deal with adversity, and it motivated me to get out of there. ... It's a tough environment, and there's violence and drugs. But it wasn't the wild, wild West. There are a lot of good people there too. I was fortunate to be around a lot of them."