Allen Park — Trey Flowers’ hoodie said it all.
It was promotional gear for rapper Meek Mill’s album of the same name, but the single word across his chest signified Flowers’ NFL past and what he hopes is part of his future — “Championships.”
Intentional or not — he said it wasn’t — Flowers is one of the only Lions who can speak knowingly about NFL championships at this level.
The two-time Super Bowl champion defensive end said this wasn’t the plan when he signed a five-year, $90-million contract to come to Detroit and play for Matt Patricia, his former defensive coordinator in New England.
Flowers said he doesn’t believe late-season success can carry over to next year but still believes there’s value to grind out a season strongly.
“You never expect to lose. That’s not what we work hard for,” Flowers said. “This is part of football. You’ve got to work, got to out-execute and out-compete, and if you don’t do that, you lose.
“It’s very frustrating. Obviously, to come in and work hard on the game plan, we’ve got a lot of guys working hard, but to come up short on the weekend, it’s definitely frustrating. But it’s part of this game.”
Individually, the numbers are starting to add up for Flowers, as the Lions have slid back to last place and into the familiar local tradition of meaningless December football.
It’s something Flowers isn’t used to, as his first four seasons in New England netted a 50-14 record (.781 winning percentage). It took into Flowers’ third season in New England to suffer eight losses like he has in Detroit, with one-quarter of the year to go.
“I know we put a lot of work into this season, this team,” Flowers said. “You definitely got to understand that and take advantage of every opportunity. We’ve got four more opportunities. You've got to take the best advantage of it.”
Meanwhile, sparked by back-to-back sacks on fourth-quarter plays in Detroit’s last win against the New York Giants, Flowers has 5.0 sacks in his last five games, all in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t really look into stats, man, I just work hard and do my job,” Flowers said. “There’s a lot of people that look at the game and define it as far as streaks and things, but I’m just trying to get the win.”
While Flowers may not be paying attention, his 6.0 sacks are creeping up to his usual output. In his last three seasons with New England, Flowers had sack totals of 7.0, 6.5 and 7.5, all without a sack dance that NFL fans have become accustomed to.
“It’s the old saying: Just do your job,” defensive line coach Bo Davis said. “You’re getting ready for the next play. Trey is just like, I’m locked in. I made a sack. I’m getting ready for the next play.
“That’s kind of how he is.”
Added Flowers: “If we don’t get the win, really nothing else matters. So if I don’t do enough for us to win, I didn’t do enough.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.