Texans GM Nick Caserio denies that Brian Flores lawsuit influenced coaching search

Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio denied on Tuesday that Brian Flores' lawsuit against the NFL had any impact on the team's head coaching search.

Caserio addressed the subject while introducing Lovie Smith as the team's new head coach.

“I would say it didn’t affect us at all,” Caserio told reporters of Flores' lawsuit. ... "[Flores] was a part of this process. He’s been a good coach in this league for a number of years. Part of my responsibility was to spend time with as many quality candidates as possible, and Brian was one of those. ...

"There were conversations with Brian after [the lawsuit] took place. So it really didn't affect the process at all."

Lawyers: 'Obvious' reason Flores wasn't hired

The Texans hired Smith amid reports that Flores and Josh McCown were also finalists for the job. After news broke of Smith's hiring on Monday, Flores' attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis released a statement that the only reason he wasn't hired was because of his lawsuit.

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"Mr. Flores was one of three finalists for the Texans' head coach position and, after a great interview and mutual interest, it is obvious that the only reason Mr. Flores was not selected was his decision to stand up against racial inequality across the NFL," the statement reads.

Sep 23, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio walks on the field before the game against the Carolina Panthers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Caserio says the Texans didn't consider Brian Flores' lawsuit. (Troy Taormina/Reuters)

Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants on Feb. 1 alleging racism in the league's hiring process. Flores had recently been fired from a three-year stint as the Dolphins head coach and was widely believed to be a strong candidate for multiple offseason head coaching openings.

The Texans' hiring of Smith left just the New Orleans Saints with a head coaching vacancy that has since been filled by Dennis Allen. Smith was one of two minority candidates hired as head coaches in the offseason coaching cycle alongside new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel who is biracial. They join Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin as five minority head coaches in a league of 32 teams.