ATLANTA – Will Super Bowl LIII be the final game of Brian Flores as assistant to New England Be patriots? He will not say it.
But his comments on Monday night sure sounded like those of a man intending to leave the organization he has called home for the past 15 years.
Immediately after the widespread reports that he would take on the role of head coach of the Miami Dolphins in this offseason, Flores declined the comment and said it was not fair for his players to focus on anything but the match Sunday to concentrate with the Los Angeles Rams.
"Right now I'm just concentrating on the Rams," said the linebackers coach of the Patriots and the de facto defense coordinator during the Super Bowl Opening Night. "I'm giving the players a disadvantage if I'm in my head somewhere else, except this week, in this game. And that's where I am. I love these guys. I love everyone who is part of this organization. I am locked up
"I would say that in my career, I have only tried for one day. I try to improve every day. I'm trying to win the day. And when you start thinking about other things in the future, do not focus anymore. So I focus on our team, our players. That's my goal now. That's where I am. "
Flores was unwilling to discuss his future, but he had no problem thinking about his past. After thinking about the season in which he slept on an air mattress in 2004 and used a dry cleaning service as a beginner scouting assistant, Flores gave more than two minutes to those who helped him throughout his life and career ceremony.
"First my parents," said Flores, who came to the Patriots just a few months after his last season as a Boston College linebacker in 2003. "I have two great parents ̵
"My mother had a great education. I tell this story from time to time: I learned to read – I remember it very vividly – so I learn to read, I sit there and said: 'Mama, I'm going to do this tomorrow. "And she reaches for my ear and pulls me right back. It's like, "You'll do it now." I grew up in this environment, so I'd say it started there.
"And I had a lot of good coaches from Pop Warner High School – my high school coach Dino Mangiero, he's now at Mater Dei Prep in Jersey. This guy is like a father figure to me. He's someone I talk to weekly. I make no decisions without first talking to him.
"On the BC, Tom O'Brien was the head coach. Bill McGovern was my position coach and he was incredible to me. And now in New England I had a lot of mentors there. I start with Scott Pioli, the former Patriot Vice President for Player Staff. He was as tough as anyone else. If someone knows Scott, he's intense, he's fiery, and I've learned from him how to act in chaotic situations, because that's kind of like our building. And it was good for me.
"Well, Scott, and then coaching Scott O'Brien, Dante Scarnecchia and Matt Patricia – I could go on here. Billy O'Brien. Billy O'Brien was an incredible year for me on the offensive. Bill (Belichick) obviously. Bill is one of the smartest and has as much football acumen as anyone I've ever been to, and I'm just happy to be close to him and get something every day. I'm learning something new every day in this building, and I think these things have helped me tremendously.
"And I am babbling. I am sorry."
Flores, 36, was interviewed earlier this month for head coaching jobs at Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and Dolphins. The theme of his meeting with the media on Monday was gratitude.
"I'm very happy," Flores said. "I'm really, I'm lucky enough to have been in this organization, I think about where I grew up, my parents are immigrants, and we did not grow up and (the Patriots) shot me. I was hired by Scott Pioli back in 2004.
"I got coffee, got dry-cleaner, drove around and just tried to find my way. I slept on an air mattress this year. It was very humble to have just one interview – one, let alone four -. I felt very happy. It was a great learning experience for me. I am very happy. "
thumbnail photo about Mark Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports Images