The Monday after the NFL regular season proceeded as planned early. The Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears cleaned house, moves that were expected for weeks. And then the Miami Dolphins shocked everyone.
Miami fired coach Brian Flores after three seasons. The move came as surprise considering Flores led the team to a 19-14 record over the last two seasons and won 8 of his final 9 games in 2021 after an abysmal start.
The move also took Dolphins players by surprise. A few members of the team expressed sadness, surprise and thanks upon hearing Flores was fired.
The biggest reaction came from Dolphins cornerback Nik Needham, who said he was "sick" over the news.
Im Sick Af 😭
— Nik Needham (@FOETYY) January 10, 2022
Long snapper Blake Ferguson, who the team selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL draft, thanked Flores for taking a chance on him.
Can’t thank Coach Flo enough for taking a chance on me. Changed my life forever. 🤟🏼
— Blake Ferguson (@blakeferguson44) January 10, 2022
Cornerback Byron Jones took the same approach, thanking Flores for believing the club could turn things around in 2021.
Thank you, Flo. Our resilience as a team to turn the season around when everyone counted us out was one of the greatest joys of my career. We never blinked. Not many are built like that. We were.
— Byron Jones (@Byron31Jump) January 10, 2022
Offensive lineman Robert Hunt responded to Ferguson's tweet with a bunch of exclamation points, suggesting he was surprised by the news.
Hunt also reportedly retweeted the Needham post by saying, "Facts!!" Hunt apparently deleted that tweet.
Defensive lineman Raekwon Davis also expressed surprise over the move.
— Raekwon Davis (@Raekwondavis_99) January 10, 2022
Cornerback Jason McCourty simply tweeted the word "wow" with four exclamation points.
Players around the NFL react to Brian Flores firing
Flores' firing made waves outside the Dolphins. Carolina Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore called Flores, "A great coach."
Brian Flores is a great coach that’s wild.
— The Gilly Lock (@BumpNrunGilm0re) January 10, 2022
Flores and Gilmore overlapped with the New England Patriots. Flores was the team's linebackers coach in 2017 and 2018 before joining the Dolphins.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron said the move, "Makes no sense."
With Flores out, the Dolphins will look for their ninth head coach since 2005. Team owner Stephen Ross has ties to Michigan, though claimed the Dolphins will not pursue Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.