Connecting As A Coach

The qualities Flores had shown at every stop continued to serve him well as an assistant coach with New England, as he developed close relationships with his players.

As he continued to prove himself, his responsibilities on Belichick's staff grew, first moving to safeties coach in 2012 and then linebackers coach in 2016. When Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Detroit Lions last offseason, Flores got the call to make the calls on defense — even though he didn't get the title of defensive coordinator.

"I think Flo definitely brought a lot of aggressiveness," linebacker Don'ta Hightower said during Super Bowl week. "He's a great coach. He definitely demands the best out of his players. Ever since I've known Flo, him being the secondary coach, him moving to linebacker and DC, he's definitely just pushed and wanted the best out of everybody. He's just very demanding in that aspect."

Several of his New England players talked about Flores' impact not just as a coach but as a man.

One of those was Matt Slater, who went from wondering whether he would last in the NFL to being a Pro Bowl regular as a special teams player.

"Early in my career, I really struggled with confidence and figuring out whether or not I belonged in this league," Slater said. "This man was the first coach that really gave me the faith and confidence that I could play, that I belonged. He challenged me as a player. He believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself."

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