RENTON -- Tre Flowers might have lost 12 pounds due to the flu last week. It might have caused him to throw up into a trash cans between reps at practice and wear a surgical mask under his helmet to limit exposure to his teammates.
It wasn't going to keep him from having the chance to add to his interception total Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
"It was pretty crazy," Flowers said on Wedndsday. "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."
Flowers survived the week of sickness along with a handful of teammates that were knocked off their feet by the illness last week ahead of the team's 37-30 win over the Vikings that vaulted the team into first place in the NFC West. Flowers notched his third interception of the season on a pass from Kirk Cousins to Stefon Diggs on the first play of the fourth quarter. Seattle would capitalize on the turnover with a 13-yard touchdown pass to fellow 2018 draft pick Rashaad Penny in taking a 34-17 lead.
Flowers, a safety at Oklahoma State that converted to cornerback after being selected in the fifth round last year, is starting to look like a fully capable defender on the right corner of Seattle's suddenly surging defense.
"I’m still learning that it’s just every day," Flowers said. "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."
Like fellow cornerback Shaquill Griffin, Flowers got thrown right into the starting lineup as a rookie and had to learn how to swim. Flowers didn't record an interception as a rookie and was frequently a bit too aggressive with his physical play against opposing wide receivers. Flowers was called for four defensive holding penalties, a pass interference and an illegal hands to the face penalty during his rookie season.
Flowers is actually getting penalized more in his second year with the Seahawks. However, he's also turning the margins into more successful plays as well.
"They let me play the way I want to play," Flowers said. "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.”
Flowers got his first career interception in October against Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. He's now had interceptions in back-to-back games as Carson Wentz and Cousins have each unsuccessfully tried to test Flowers on throws along the sideline. Wentz forced a throw to Jordan Matthews while Flowers trailed the Eagles receiver up the sideline two weeks ago in Philadelphia. Then on Monday night, Flowers sat on a hitch route from Diggs and worked back through the throw from Cousins. He then managed to secure the deflected pass as both players fell to the ground with Penny's ensuing touchdown capping a 24-0 run by Seattle.
"He's certainly worked his tail off and he's always improving," defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "He's going to make his mistakes and then he's going to learn from his mistakes. We all get better by our failures and our mistakes and he's certainly gotten better every single time he's gone out. You see the development and the confidence that he has, his ability to really hone in and master his technique and to challenge and compete. I think that his mindset and his body and his frame allowing him to grow as a player. He's becoming a really good football player before our eyes."
Pete Carroll has had numerous draft crushes through the years. Flowers and fellow Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson were two of his most recent. Carroll loved the physicality that Carson ran with and believed he could take Flowers' lanky frame and turn him into an ideal Seahawks cornerback.
"It’s such a difficult position to play out there, and particularly for a guy that doesn’t have it in his history," Carroll said Monday night." He’s really grown into his own. He’s such a beautiful athlete and he’s such a good competitor, and he’s a tough guy. It’s great to see him coming through and making it."
Flowers is still learning on the job. He doesn't view himself as a finished product. But Flowers is making strides all the time and is starting to see it pay off on game days.
"I go against the best at practice every day with Russell Wilson; and DK [Metcalf] is here, Josh Gordon is here, D Mo [David Moore] is here," Flowers said. "I just feel like I go against the best at practice and that’s how I try to attack it every day.
“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.”
Photo Credit: PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 24: Tre Flowers #21 of the Seattle Seahawks heals in an interception on a pass intended for Jordan Matthews #80 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles 17-9. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)