RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Tre Flowers was throwing up into trashcans and practicing with a surgical mask on at times last week as the flu had hit him and several teammates ahead of the Seahawks' Monday night win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Flowers was determined to practice despite his illness and used the mask to limit exposure to his teammates. His efforts shone through against Minnesota when he intercepted Kirk Cousins on the first play of the fourth quarter in a key victory for Seattle that moved the team into first place in the NFC West.
"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.”
Flowers lost 12 pounds due to the illness and he said he was scared to step on a scale again to see where he was this week. His commitment has helped the former college safety at Oklahoma State transition to cornerback and begin to find consistent success in his second season with the Seahawks.
"It’s such a difficult position to play out there and particularly for a guy that doesn’t have it in his history," coach Pete Carroll said. “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 has three interceptions this season for Seattle after not recording one during his first season with the team. Despite his newness to the position, Flowers started 15 games as a rookie. It was a work in progress as Flowers had to learn Seattle’s cornerback technique and how to see the game from a different vantage point.
"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.”
It’s an ongoing process for Flowers, which is why he tried to keep practicing last week despite an illness that forced receivers Tyler Lockett and David Moore, defensive tackle Poona Ford and backup center Jordan Roos to go home.
"It was pretty crazy," Flowers said. “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’ improvement is an aspect of the defenses' improvement as the season has progressed. The addition of Quandre Diggs at free safety has settled the back end of the defense. Meanwhile, the pass rush has finally blossomed as well and the result has been 11 turnovers forced over the team’s last three games.
“I think we’re just all hitting our stride,” Flowers said. “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.”
Notes: DE Jadeveon Clowney (core) and DE Ziggy Ansah (neck) will be game-time decisions Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. … CB Neiko Thorpe had surgery to address a sports hernia and will be placed on injured reserve. … FB Nick Bellore (quadriceps), TE Luke Willson (hamstring) and LB Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) are doubtful to play against the Rams. Rookie LB Cody Barton will likely replace Kendricks in the lineup.