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Report: Brian Flores‘s Poor Relationships With Tagovailoa, General Manager Led to Firing

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 1/10/2022 Dan Lyons
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His relationships with his GM and quarterback had deteriorated to a pretty bad place, per a report.

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The Dolphins rocked the NFL world this morning, with the surprise firing of Brian Flores after only three seasons and back-to-back winning records. According to ESPN's Jeff Darlington, the move was made due to deteriorating relationships between Flores and two of the most important people in the franchise: general manager Chris Grier and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

ESPN reports that owner Stephen Ross no longer saw Flores as a healthy fit in Miami, due to things getting to “a pretty bad place” with both Grier and Tagovailoa," in Darlington's words.

“After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren't functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins,” Ross said in the team's statement announcing Flores' dismissal.

The 40-year-old former Bill Belichick assistant inherited one of the NFL's worst clubs in 2019, leading it to five wins in a year where most projected the team to notch a far worse record. He went 19–14 in '20–21, failing to reach the playoffs, but earning Miami's first back-to-back winning records in nearly 20 years.

Throughout the year, Miami had been floated as a potential destination for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was held out of action in 2021 with more than 20 women accusing him of sexual misconduct

Tagovailoa was asked about the constant rumors at midseason, ahead of the trade deadline.

“I don't base my emotions about who says anything about me,” he said. "I can only do my job. It's out of my control but I have the utmost confidence and trust that I am the quarterback of this team. Just off conversations that I've had with Flo [Flores], those will stay private. I feel very confident I’m the person."

“I don't not feel wanted,” Tagovailoa added.

With the Flores news, many turned attention to Jim Harbaugh, who is reportedly drawing renewed NFL interest after his impressive '21 season at Michigan, in which he led the team to the College Football Playoff.

Stephen Ross is a Michigan alumnus and major booster. However, Darlington and The MMQB's Albert Breer both shot down the notion that the Flores move was made with Harbaugh in mind to replace him.

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