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Brian Flores opens up about relationship with Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa

Matt Johnson
Brian Flores, Tua Tagovailoa
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After the Miami Dolphins surprisingly fired Brian Flores, reports surfaced that the decision came down to his poor relationship with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Because of it, the Dolphins chose the former No. 5 pick over their head coach.

The rumors of a bad relationship between Flores and Tagovailoa came months after speculation that the former Dolphins’ head coach pushed the team to acquire Deshaun Watson. Once Flores was pushed out, Miami committed to Tagovailoa for the 2022 season.

With Flores amid a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos), he is now shedding light on his account of what happened in Miami.

In an interview on the “I Am Athlete” series with Chad Johnson, Omar Kelly and Brandon Marshall, Flores opened up about his relationship with Tagovailoa and how they challenged one another.

“I think we had a good relationship. It was a player-coach relationship. And I think in a relationship like that, the coach challenges the player, and often times the player challenges the coach…There was a great deal of respect between the two of us. So you hear this crazy kind of narrative that’s out there, but this is a young man who works, developed, and got better over 2 years and I think he’s got a bright future.”

Former Miami Dolphins HC Brian Flores on relationship with Tua Tagovailoa, via I Am Athlete (H/T TMZ)

Miami never hired Flores to be a quarterback whisperer or to have a great bond with the quarterback. He’s a defensive-minded coach who brings a Patriots-like style to coaching. While it did seem to bother some players in the Dolphins’ locker room, no one has spoken out publicly against him.

Related: Brian Flores’ attorneys respond to Roger Goodell statement

By Flores’ account, his relationship with Tagovailoa is what you’d expect from a head coach who came up on the defensive side of the ball and is managing countless relationships in a locker room. Of course, he also acknowledges that the perceptions around his communication with Tagovailoa will remain unchanged.

“Yeah, the world can think what they want to think. Ask Tua, you know, I think he’d say the same thing.”

Brian Flores on negative perceptions regarding his relationship with Tua Tagovailoa

Ultimately, the Dolphins chose a head coach who could build that unique bond with Tagovailoa. Only time will tell whether or not it leads to better results than Flores produced in his final two seasons.