Detroit Lions linebacker Trey Flowers not discouraged by ‘ugly side’ of NFL

Detroit Free Press

Trey Flowers is ready to put a rough 11 months behind him.

Flowers has missed 11 of the Detroit Lions’ past 13 games with an assortment of knee, shoulder and forearm injuries, but the outside linebacker is expected to return to action Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings after practicing Thursday for the second straight day.

“It’s (been) tough,” Flowers said Thursday. “I take pride in just playing the game, take pride in my body being prepared for all the compact hits and things, but that’s this game. Sometimes you have good times and then sometimes you got to see the ugly side of it, but I’ve been trying to stay positive.”

Flowers broke his right forearm in a Week 8 game against the Indianapolis Colts last season and missed the rest of the year.

He started the first two games this season, then was sidelined with knee and shoulder injuries for losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears.

Flowers, who said he turned to meditation and prayer to stay positive through the injuries, has practiced with a brace on his right knee this week, but said Thursday his health is improving.

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“Obviously, I’m blessed,” he said. “I understand that I can still be able to play the game. I just understand, I’m taking that opportunity to know that, take advantage of the opportunity just to be out there and be healthy.”

One of the Lions’ best edge run defenders, Flowers will play an important role this week against a Vikings team that could be without top running back Dalvin Cook, who missed practice Thursday with an ankle injury.

The Lions lost outside linebacker Romeo Okwara to a season-ending torn Achilles last week, and are counting on Flowers to solidify their edge defense.

“It’s a sting to have one of our leaders go down,” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. “It’s tough. But I would say this, man, this is the NFL and they’re not gong to stop games for us so we’ve just got to continue to move on. I know it’s a cliché when they say next man up, but this is really how this league is. It’s really a next-man-up league and the next guy up has got to be ready to go.”

Santoso the ‘great’

The Lions activated Austin Seibert off the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, but special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said they will go through practice this week before deciding who will kick in Sunday’s game, Seibert or Ryan Santoso.

Santoso handled place kicking duties the past two weeks. He made his only field goal attempt, from 35 yards out to give the Lions a late but temporary lead against the Ravens, and was 4 for 4 on extra points.

Fipp said he felt confident enough in Santoso’s leg that he was ready to trot the young kicker out for an attempt once the Lions crossed the 40-yard line at one point during the Ravens game.

“I feel great about Santoso,” he said. “I would say our scouting department did a great job bringing him in here. He can obviously punt, too. That’s a big thing, especially with the COVID protocols. If you have one guy who can do both in an emergency, that makes you feel better, so that was a positive. But I would say he handled the game situations I think beautifully. A lot of poise, composure. … I’m super glad to have him here.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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