The clock was ticking for Brandon Flowers and he could no longer ignore its call. He’d been out of the Chiefs lineup for more than six weeks and his team suffered greatly in last week’s game without their top cornerback.
So after two days of full practice, his first since injuring his foot at training camp on July 31, Flowers on Friday declared himself ready to play. He said he would be available for the Chiefs on Sunday when they play against the Bills in Buffalo.
“I’ve got to be a pro,” Flowers said. “I’ve been out six, seven weeks now. That’s what they pay us for. They’re counting on me to be ready to go make plays and they’re calling on me this week to go out there and make plays. That’s what I’ve got to go out there and do.”
The Chiefs listed Flowers as questionable for Sunday’s game on their final injury report of the week. Technically, that means he has a 50-50 chance of playing.
But coach Romeo Crennel said Flowers has been medically cleared to play and the decision whether he could play Sunday rested with Flowers.
“The doctors have told him he can play if he feels good about it,” Crennel said.
“He was hurt and he was working to try to get it better and it’s better and he’s working through it. I don’t know that it’s 100 percent but he’s working through it. He’s able to do more and so we’re going to ask him to do more.”
Without Flowers last week, veteran journeyman Jacques Reeves started in his place. Reeves was repeatedly victimized as the Atlanta Falcons passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns in an easy 40-24 victory.
Flowers missed all of the preseason games as well as the Atlanta contest. But the Chiefs are expecting him to play well.
“He’s only missed one game, the only one that counts,” said Stanford Routt, the other starting cornerback. “Brandon’s been playing (four) years so this isn’t as big as people are making it out to be. It’s football. After about the first series, he’ll be right back to his normal self. He’ll be just fine, so I don’t see any reason for concern.”
Flowers hasn’t played in a game since last season. He returned to practice just last week and even then wasn’t able to handle a full workload until Thursday.
But he said he would be ready to play Sunday.
“That’s what practice is for,” Flowers said. “I practice like it’s a game. That’s why I wanted to practice last week, trying to get my technique right. I wasn’t able to go last week but I was able to get my (technique) down and everything like that so I would be ready going into this week.
“I felt like I was having a good camp. I (was) going out there and making plays. I was wanting to go out there in preseason and make plays for my teammates but that just makes me even more hungry. I can’t wait to get out there with my brothers this week.”
Crennel said Flowers might be not play on every snap in Buffalo.
“You have to kind of temper it and know that conditioning will be a factor,” Crennel said. “If the guy is able to play, you might have to monitor his reps. Some of that will depend on how the game goes. Probably asking him to play 100 plays might not be the thing to do. But you can give him a break now and then and maybe he can get through a game.”
Flowers said he didn’t believe his conditioning would be a problem against Buffalo.
“You’ve got to find different ways to get into shape, swimming and anything you can do to keep your lungs right. When I line up against the Buffalo Bills, they’re not going to be worried if I’m in shape or I can play or not. So I’d better be ready to go and I will be ready to go.
“I’m going out there to play. I’m not trying to think about (number of) plays, how long I can go. When I’m out there, it’s lights on, let’s just go. That’s what I’m preparing for.”
The Chiefs also played without their best pass rusher, outside linebacker Tamba Hali, against the Falcons. He was serving a one-game NFL suspension for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
But Hali will play against the Bills.
“I feel like we’re coming along, we’ll be strong this week,” Flowers said. “We’ll have Tamba back. Myself will be back in the lineup. The chemistry is all there right now. We’ve just got to go out there and play.”