The Bengals appeared to have picked up a fortuitous waiver claim on Thursday when they grabbed former Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers off the wire in the wake of placing cornerback Trae Waynes on injured reserve with a severe hamstring injury. The 6-3, 203-pound Flowers, 26, who made 40 starts in Seattle, figures to push for a starting job opposite Chidobe Awuzie as well as offer some safety versatility.
Flowers, the 12th player the Bengals have brought in with postseason experience, started three playoff games for Seattle. After taking him in the fifth round out of Oklahoma State in 2018, the Seahawks converted him from safety to cornerback and he replaced Richard Sherman with 15 starts in each of his first two seasons.
"We liked him as a safety when he was coming out," said Steven Radicevic, the Bengals director of pro scouting. "He can probably play multiple roles on defense. He's a tall, long corner that has played in a lot of big games and won a lot of big games in Seattle. Given the situation we're in with Trae getting hurt, we obviously think it's a move that helps us."
Published reports said Flowers had a disagreement with the coaching staff after he began the season as a starter. The Bengals have a long track record of reviving the career of veteran cornerbacks, going back Tory James' Pro Bowl berth in 2005, all the way through Pac Man Jones and Terence Newman, and now with Awuzie, a free agent from the Cowboys who has emerged as a star in his first season as a Bengal.
JACKSON SALUTES SEAN TAYLOR: Bengals cornerbacks coach Steven Jackson is the only NFL position coach the late great free safety Sean Taylor ever had during his four seasons in Washington.
With Taylor's No. 21 becoming only the third number in Washington history to be retired in ceremonies this Sunday, Jackson reminisced Thursday with his office neighbor Robert Livingston, the safeties coach.
Taylor, 24, was in his fourth season and headed to his second Pro Bowl when he died of a gunshot in a botched robbery at his Miami home in November of 2007.
Jackson, in his 18th NFL season as an assistant after nine years as a player, says there's no question Taylor is the best player he's ever coached.
"There's no one even close," Jackson said. "He had every intangible and every physical skill was off the chart," Jackson said. "Discipline? He had to grow up a little bit."
And Jackson saw him do it when his daughter was born. Jackson thinks Jackie was nine months old when her father died.
"It changed his whole career, it changed his whole life," Jackson said. "It saddens me he never got to see her grow up and she never got time to spend with her dad.
"He had the thirst to be the best, which you usually don't find in guys as gifted athletically," Jackson said.
Jackson says Taylor marched to his own drummer and he ended up being one of the only guys Taylor ever talked to among management during the offseason. If head coach Joe Gibbs needed to find out about Taylor, he went through Jackson.
"He loved his teammates. He loved the game. He loved his family. He loved to fish. He loved to deep sea fish," Jackson said. "When the offseason came, that was it. He shut it down. No minicamps. He was going to show up when things were ready to go."
Jackson has a pretty good idea what was the last thing he said to him. It was probably on the field.
"Get your eyes right."
But on Thursday, Jackson still didn't feel right.
"I wouldn't wish that on any coach. I can't even describe it," Jackson said.