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Seahawks rookie CB Tre Flowers gets an early chance to make his case

Seahawks rookie CB Tre Flowers visits with his daughter after minicamp. (AP)

Seahawks rookie cornerback Tre Flowers is seeing a two-fold challenge this summer, adjusting not just to an NFL training training camp, but also to a new position.

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Now just two weeks into training camp, the former Oklahoma State safety could see his most extended action yet with the starting secondary. Regular starter Byron Maxwell sat out Seattle’s practice Tuesday with a groin/hip flexor issue. Flowers filled in for Maxwell at the right cornerback spot and could start at the position when the Seahawks open their preseason against the Colts Thursday.

“I’m excited,” head coach Pete Carroll said of Flowers’ upcoming opportunity. “He’s going to get a chance to play a lot of ball. He just needs to be out there and play. He just needs to see what it’s like and see what it feels like and come back play after play and series after series. He’ll get a lot of work and I’m really excited for him. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s really bought in. He’s made the transition to go to corner. Now we need to see … how that plays into it when he deals with the challenges that come your way at corner. I’m real impressed with him so far.”

Flowers is still learning the ropes at cornerback, which can sometimes come with a hard lesson. One such lesson occurred in the Seahawks’ Aug. 4 mock game, when the 23-year-old Flowers found himself paired against 34-year-old veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Advantage: Marshall. The six-time Pro Bowler beat out Flowers to haul in a touchdown from quarterback Russell Wilson.

“I feel like I did everything I could on the play and he still made it,” Flowers said. “So I know there’s more I can do to get the ball out. Somebody else would’ve made the play, so I’ve got to make the plays. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler; you can’t complain.”

Flowers added some perspective held by many rookies entering NFL camps, working to both compete with and learn from tested – and famous – veteran peers.

“I told him I used to play with him on Madden,” Flowers said with a laugh, “and now I’m playing against him. (Marshall) laughed, (he’s a) great guy. I’m learning from him and he’s taken me under his wing. He told me to keep fighting.”

There’s reason for Seattle’s intrigue. The 6-feet-3 Flowers is long and speedy, with a 4.45 40-yard dash, 34-inch arms and quick feet (all characteristics Carroll lauded earlier this spring). Through four years at Oklahoma State, Flowers recorded 284 tackles, four interceptions and four forced fumbles. He played in every game for his final three seasons and was voted captain by his teammates.

However, there’s plenty to learn for the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick – especially with the adjustment from a Big 12 safety to a cornerback in Carroll’s particular system.

During an 11-on-11 drill Tuesday, Flowers tracked a receiver step-for-step down the sideline. But he’s still mastering the art of tracking and making a play on the ball.

“I’m still learning that,” he said. “It’s still a feeling thing. I’m trying to read body gestures, body language, and just have a timer in my mind on myself. I’m still learning, watching film.”

He’s approaching the learning curve with some help from others and time spent studying on his own.

“We’re all young,” Flowers said of Seattle’s defensive back room. “But everybody’s reached out. Neiko (Thorpe) has talked to me a lot, Maxwell talks to me a lot. Me and Shaq (Shaquill Griffin) play Fortnite every night, so we end up talking about it at the end of the day.”

Flowers rooms with rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin at camp, but he says the Griffin twins are never far apart, meaning he frequently asks Shaquill for help with his kick-step technique.

“He walked in and saw me doing it and I was like, ‘Man, I thought that was locked,'” Flowers said with a smile, referring to Seattle’s technique for their defensive backs. “He knows I want to be great. He wants to be great, so we’re fighting together.”

Shaquem recalled the interruption during his own press conference, telling reporters he couldn’t help but laugh watching Flowers repeat the technique over and over.

“Even when we get out of practice, he always asks my brother, ‘Can we work this step? Can we work this?’ My brother always comes by my room all the time and they’re always just talking and stuff and going over things. Tre Flowers is definitely trying to learn a lot and you can definitely see how dedicated he is.”

Get to know Tre Flowers

Like most players, there’s hardly much time for anything other than football once August hits. But Flowers answered a few quick-fire questions about what he enjoys doing with his free time.

Are you a big Fortnite fan? “Call of Duty isn’t out yet. I’m a Call of Duty fan, but Fortnite has taken over.”

So Call of Duty over Fortnite then? “Oh yes, of course.”

What else do you do in your spare time? “During the season it’s hard (to do much else), and then I’ve got my daughter. But when she goes to sleep I get about an hour by myself.”

Flowers and his girlfriend, Shae, have been dating since high school. The couple have a one-year old daughter together, named Bailee. Flowers will get a chance to reunite with his family when they make the move to Washington state.

“We’re just learning to be young parents,” he said. “We’re just trying to do this thing together.

“(Bailee) says Daddy now, vividly. So every time I call her on Facetime she knows who it is.”

Was that her first word? “Her first word? I wasn’t there for her first word. It sounded like ‘Dada,’ but anything she said, it was going to be ‘Dada’ in my eyes.”

Favorite musician? “J. Cole”

Did you like his new album ‘KOD’? I loved it. He’s the reason my hair is like this and everything, I idolize him.”

Favorite movie? “My favorite movie is the Dark Knight, with Heath Ledger as the Joker. That was somebody I always watched. I always wanted to be like a Batman. My brother was the Batman, I was the Joker. He was the older brother so I had to be the villian.”

Was that not your first choice? “I wanted to be the good guy! But I was forced to be the bad guy. And I kind of just went with it. But it’s probably my favorite movie. I got (Ledger’s Joker) tatted on me. Heath Ledger is a great actor; probably my favorite actor of all time. It was the best performance, absolutely, I’ve seen from somebody.”

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