Around the NFL: Steelers Hire Flores, XFL, NFL Strike Partnership, Combine Boycott? Important Offseason Dates, More

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Around the NFL: Steelers Hire Flores, XFL, NFL Strike Partnership, Combine Boycott? Important Offseason Dates, More

Chicago Bears

How are we all feeling after our first Sunday without football?

XFL, NFL Reach Partnership Agreement

XFL 3.0 is in the works, and now it includes a partnership agreement with the NFL. But, new XFL part-owner Danny Garcia told ESPN today that this agreement is not intended to put the XFL in a position to become a developmental league of any sort for the NFL. Instead, the XFL will be used as a “petri dish” by the NFL to “experiment with proposed rules, test new equipment, and develop prospective officials and coaches,” XFL president Russ Brandon told ESPN today.

XFL officials told ESPN that the new deal will not include any player sharing aspects and that the XFL (which will run during the spring) will continue to strive to be its own alternative offering to the NFL.

WWE chairman Vince McMahon oversaw the first two incarnations of the XFL in 2000 and 2020. McMahon put the XFL in bankruptcy proceedings after their re-launch season lasted just five weeks amid the original COVID-19 shutdown that halted sports around the country.

Danny Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and RedBird Capital Partners purchased the league from McMahon for $15 million last summer. The league is set to resume play in the spring of 2023.

NFL Draft Prospects Planning to Boycott the Combine

According to Adam Schefter, 150 NFL draft prospects and their agents are organizing a boycott of all testing, on-field workouts, and interviews at next month’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis if the league doesn’t soften the “bubble” style COVID-19 restrictions they’ve imposed on the participants of the annual event.

Here’s a look at what those restrictions look like, courtesy of Tom Pelissero:

The requirements include vaccination and booster mandate for all Tier 1 guests. Tier 1 guests include individuals with access to players, including support personnel. The memo from the NFL includes a note at the end that defines fully vaccinated as “both doses of a two-shot vaccine or a single dose of a one-shot vaccine with the final shot being administered more than fourteen days before the event start date, as well as being up to date on any eligible booster.”

The NFLPA released a memo today showing support for the prospects and their agents. This will be a developing story to monitor, with the NFL Combine set for March 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Important NFL Offseason Dates

Make sure you mark your calendars with these important dates for the 2022 NFL offseason!

Brian Flores Hired by the Steelers

Former Miami Dolphins HC and the creator of a league-wide class-action lawsuit, Brian Flores, has been hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as their defensive assistant and linebackers coach. Flores is at the center of a class-action case regarding discrimination in the interview process with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos and in his firing by the Miami Dolphins. The Denver Broncos are also named in the suit for their interview with Flores before he took the Dolphins job.

The opening for Flores was created when Teryl Austin was promoted to defensive coordinator, replacing retired defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Keith Butler. Flores spent the past three seasons as Miami’s head coach, compiling a 24-25 record before he was fired last month. Before Flores’ time in Miami, he was the defensive play-caller for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

Here’s what Mike Tomlin had to say about the hiring of Flores:

“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a news release. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”

The Steelers have also been making progress in their search for a new general manager. Here’s an update from the team’s official Twitter account with the list of candidates that they’ve interviewed in the last two weeks:

Extra Points …

•   How is everyone coping with their first Sunday without football?

•   The New York Giants have hired Angela Baker as a minority coaching fellow and an offensive quality control coach. According to Field Yates, “Baker previously spent time with the Cleveland Browns as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and becomes the second woman hired to the coaching staff by Brian Daboll.”

•   The Minnesota Vikings have hired Rams passing game coordinator Wes Phillips as their new offensive coordinator. Phillips joins former Rams OC Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota after O’Connell was named the head coach of the Vikings last week.

•   Cincinnati Bengals safety Ricardo Allen has retired from the NFL:

•   As as Eric Weddle, again. Weddle came out of retirement to help the Rams bolster their safety depth heading into the playoffs and left with another Super Bowl ring. The long-time NFL defensive back is starting his coaching career in the high school ranks at Rancho Bernardo High School.

•   🤯:

•   DK Metcalf, Olympic athlete?

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.