Quinton Flowers is a unique player in the XFL.
He’s listed as a QB/RB on the Vipers’ official depth chart, but has played sparingly throughout Tampa Bay’s first three games. His use — or lack thereof — has upset many Vipers fans, as well as some NFL analysts, who believe he deserves to be on the field more often. Flowers himself has appeared somewhat frustrated, saying he can’t quite get into a rhythm while he’s constantly being pulled out of games.
“It’s very tough (sitting on the sidelines) just knowing that you’re kind of getting limited to a lot of things,” Flowers said in his Week 3 postgame news conference.
In the first half of Week 3’s game against Houston, Flowers went 4 of 6 through the air for 51 yards and ran six times for 29 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t play a single snap in the second half, and head coach Marc Trestman was criticized for his decision after the game. He didn’t offer much of an explanation when asked to explain his decision:
“It’s something everybody is going to ask,” Trestman said after the game. “We decided to stick with the plan and keep Taylor (Cornelius) in there, and certainly, as we look back, that’s part of getting to work through this process. We will look back. You have to stand behind what you call and the plays that you run.”
Flowers was absent from practice on Wednesday leading up to the Vipers’ Week 4 game against the Defenders (7 p.m. ET). Nathan Bond, a reporter covering USF football (where Flowers played college football), tweeted on Wednesday that “There’s no need to ‘stick it out’ if you’ve been shown time and time again that management will not handle things properly. No one deserves that.” He followed that tweet up by saying Flowers has “left the team.”
In addition to Bond, 24/7’s Will Turner also reported Flowers left the team, but added a few more details.
“I checked with a source close to the team and it is believed that the Miami native left the team Monday, a mere two days after Tampa Bay’s seven-point loss to Houston on Saturday,” Turner writes. “The cause for his absence is unknown at this time.”
Trestman addressed the media later in the day saying that although Flowers is technically still on the roster, he has stepped away from the team for “personal reasons.”
Flowers’ absence is interesting, especially considering Bond’s report from earlier in the day.
But what really makes it seem like this a frustration-related issue is Vipers teammate Aaron Murray’s comments on Flowers. Murray spoke after Trestman and seemed to allude to Flowers leaving the team.
If Flowers is still absent from the team come Sunday, then things will get interesting. As for what Tampa Bay plans to do at quarterback, Cornelius will start in Week 4. Even with Murray fully healthy — he was the team’s Week 1 starter — the team feels more confident in Cornelius leading the offense.
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