Tre Flowers Overcomes Flu, Flourishes in Seahawks’ Secondary

Corbin Smith

As one of several Seahawks battling through a nasty bout with the flu last week, cornerback Tre Flowers was advised by the team to leave the facility and rest.

But with a critical Monday night contest against the Vikings looming, the second-year defender wasn’t about to let an illness slow him down.

“It was pretty crazy,” Flowers told reporters on Wednesday. “They tried to send me home, I wasn’t taking that for an answer, I had to put on the doctor mask. Then I looked I was going to die out here. I’m glad all of that is over with, we’re trying to get back to normal.”

Despite losing 12 pounds during the week, Flowers gutted it out. Literally. He wore his mask at practice to help prevent teammates from getting sick and on at least one occasion according to coach Pete Carroll, he had to leave the field to throw up in a trash can on the sideline.

By Monday, though far from 100 percent, Flowers was feeling good enough to suit up for Seattle.

“I wouldn’t say it was like I was dying or anything but, I was a little winded,” Flowers said. “I felt out of shape like I hadn’t played all year; that’s what I didn’t like. But we got through it as a team.”

If Flowers was affected negatively by playing while under the weather, it sure didn’t show on the game field. Continuing his rapid improvement, the former fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma State recorded three tackles, a pass defensed, and a highlight reel interception against quarterback Kirk Cousins late in the third quarter.

Draped all over receiver Stefon Diggs, Flowers displayed exquisite hand-eye coordination and concentration, plucking the pass out of air after the ball bounced off Diggs’ hands. He was ruled down by contact, but the turnover set up a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Rashaad Penny, extending Seattle’s lead to 34-17.

“Tre was so fired up,” a giddy Carroll gushed. “That was such an extraordinary interception, I don’t know how he did that. He was so jacked about it.”

Rebounding from a challenging first month of the season, Flowers has intercepted a pass in two consecutive games and now leads the Seahawks with three picks this season. The ex-college safety has improved statistically across the board in his sophomore season, including holding opposing quarterbacks to a 65.6 passer rating and 58 percent completion rate.

Possessing a different build and skill set than fellow starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin, the 6-foot-3, 202-pound Flowers owes much of his success to the Seahawks for allowing him to play to his strengths. The team isn’t trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, which has eased his transition to a position that is still somewhat foreign to him.

“I love it. They let me play the way I want to play. They haven’t forgot that I did play safety; I’m so glad they didn’t forget that because it is a little different. But they let me play the way I want to play, they just want me to make plays and I’m trying my best.”

Since arriving in May 2018, Flowers has maintained an emphasis on harnessing consistency with his technique. Iron sharpens iron and he credits his improving ball skills to defending against Wilson while covering receivers such as DK Metcalf, Josh Gordon, and David Moore on the practice field.

“I’m still learning that it’s just every day. You’ve got to come in and do it every day. Your technique doesn’t waste any time and it doesn’t matter who you’re going against, you’ve got to work it and keep working it.”

With his condition improving leading up to a rematch with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Flowers sees a completely different team from the one Seattle beat back in Week 5. Bouncing back from a dreadful performance against the Ravens, Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense put up 34 points against the Cardinals on Sunday and need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

But Flowers knows Seattle isn’t the same team it was in early October, either. The secondary has been bolstered by the addition of safety Quandre Diggs and an invigorated pass rush has made life easier, leading to 11 turnovers generated over the past three games alone.

Aiming to continue progressing in Week 13, the young cornerback isn’t satisfied, believing he and the Seahawks’ defense are just scratching the surface of their potential heading towards postseason play.

“I think we’re just all hitting our stride. We’re getting better. We’re not at the top and we’re for sure not perfect, so we’re just going to keep getting better.”