Getting Into Football

Flores discovered football at the age of 12 through his uncle, who was a fireman in New York and played on the Fire Department team.

Flores began playing youth football and was good at it. Very good. So good that he caught the attention of Dino Mangiero, a former NFL nose guard who was coaching at Brooklyn's Poly Prep Country Day. Through a program that allowed Mangiero to admit a number of athletes from low-income backgrounds, Flores ended up at Poly Prep.

"From the day I met him, you knew he was special," Mangiero said. "He sat there, 13-year-old kid, sits there and is staring at you and absorbing every word you're saying. He's an A student and he's the best football player in his little league. These guys don't come around very often."

With Flores playing running back and defensive back, Poly Prep didn't lose a game during his time there. It would begin a pattern of consistent winning for Flores that's continued to his time in the NFL.

While he obviously was a great player, Flores also impressed Mangiero with his maturity and his leadership. He tells the story of Flores interrupting his teammates while they were complaining about the coaches and telling them they needed to trust them.

"That was very impressive to me," Mangiero said. "That's an example of Brian's leadership. It takes courage because sometimes it's not popular. He did that all through his junior and senior years and everybody looked up to him as a leader at Poly Prep.

"He came with this really great value system that was instilled in him at an early age. His mom is just a terrific lady. His dad was like a merchant marine; he was on a ship for eight months. He wasn't around a lot. So Brian had to take the leadership in the family and the mom always believed in higher education. Absolutely, he got that core and that foundation from his family. Brian's two brothers played for me, Danny and Luis. They were the same way, very respectful, very hard-working. The mom and dad instilled that into them. They got a chance in this country to really do something special and really took advantage because all three of them are doing really well."

Flores and Mangiero developed such a bond that Flores said during Super Bowl week he doesn't make a big decision without talking to his old coach. And Mangiero made it a point to fly from New Jersey to be there for Flores' press conference in Davie on Monday.

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