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Quinton Flowers returns to Vipers, says he is still looking for trade

The former USF star isn’t likely to see much time under center this week because the team appears committed to Taylor Cornelius in a one-QB system.
Quinton Flowers returned to Vipers practice on Wednesday after a one-week absence. [EDUARDO ENCINA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Quinton Flowers returned to Vipers practice on Wednesday after a one-week absence. [EDUARDO ENCINA | Tampa Bay Times]

TAMPA — Quinton Flowers rejoined the Vipers on Wednesday, but everything is not rosy between the former USF star and the team.

Following a week-long absence that included the Vipers’ first win of the season Sunday night, Flowers was back on the practice field. For how long, who knows? Flowers told reporters following the session that he did request a trade and still is seeking one.

“If it happens, it happens,” Flowers said. “It if doesn’t, at the end of the day, I’m still an athlete and I’m still going to play ball.”

Moments later, Vipers coach Marc Trestman said that Flowers didn't ask him or player personnel director Josh Hinch to be dealt.

“He hasn’t expressed that to me,” Trestman said. "He hasn’t expressed that this week to me. ... Q came in today, he was great in the meetings. ... He was great. I don’t have any kind of sense (he wants a trade). He hasn’t said that to me. That may be something he’s thought about. But his presence here, his demeanor was great today and I was excited to see him come back and excited to see him on the field today.”

While taking reps as a running back, Quinton Flowers (9) catches a pass from Aaron Murray during Wednesday's Vipers practice at Plant City Stadium. [EDUARDO ENCINA | Tampa Bay Times]

Trestman said after Flowers met with him and the coaching staff to express his frustrations about his role in the Vipers offense following Sunday’s game, he told Flowers “he had a lot going on and a lot of emotions from the night before” and to sleep on it, but never sent him home.

“That was never a part of the discussion,” Trestman said. “I left it up to him, and I gave him and open-ended invitation to come back and he’s chosen to do that. And I’m glad he’s done that, not just for our team but for our fans. I’ve got work to do on my end to involve him. But I hope our fans know what’s best for our team and as much as they love Q and we love Q, I hope they can love our team just as much because we have a great group of men here.”

In Flowers’ first practice back with the team, he spent most of it getting reps at running back, catching balls out of the backfield and working on the side in running back drills.

Trestman said he spent 45 minutes at the end of practice working with Flowers at quarterback, but the coach made it clear that Taylor Cornelius, who quarterbacked the team to a 25-0 win over the D.C. Defenders on Sunday night will remain the starter.

Despite shuffling quarterbacks through the team’s first three games — all Vipers losses — Trestman appears committed to a one-quarterback system with Cornelius. That means that Flowers returns to the team in more of a hybrid role that would include snaps at running back and wideout.

"I think Q played all types of positions, was in different roles and I think that's a little more solidified," Trestman said. "I hope we continue to grow as an offense with (Cornelius) as the quarterback. He deserves our entire focus from that standpoint."

Flowers has always considered himself a quarterback, and at USF, he was the best in school history. At least publicly, he is embracing a multi-facted role.

“Whenever Coach Trestman calls my number, I’m an athlete so I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Flowers said. "Whatever Coach needs me to get at, if I need to get there to win the game, or get there to help this team win, that’s what I’ll do.

“I’m not a quitter. That’s one thing I’m not. Like I’ve always said, I’m doing it for the people who look up to me, the kids who look up to me. I just want to finish up strong and see what God has for me, not behind me.”

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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