Dallis Flowers had a circuitous route to the NFL, but once he got his opportunity he made the most of it.
A native of Oak Park and 2015 graduate of Oak Park River Forest High School, Flowers, 25, was selected as a kick returner on the Pro Football Writers 2022 All-Rookie Team.
Flowers, a cornerback and kick returner for the Indianapolis Colts, led the NFL in average yards per kickoff return (31.5 yards) this season despite not becoming the Colts full-time kick returner until the 12th week of the season.
His biggest moment was an 89-yard return to open second half on Nov. 28 in a nationally televised Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The return set up a touchdown in a game the Colts lost 24-17. Flowers also had returns of 48 and 49 yards
According to published reports, Flowers became the first player since 2019 and only the 17th player in NFL history to average more than 31 yards per kickoff return when having 20 or more returns in a season. For the season, Flowers returned 23 kickoffs for 715 yards.
The recognition was especially sweet for Flowers because he made the Colts as an undrafted free agent who played his college football at small, unheralded schools such as Robert Morris University, Tiffin, Grand View University and Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.
“Wow, my name is stamped in the record book Forever,” Flowers said in a tweet on Jan 10. “Led the NFL yards per kick return. Thank you God. Not to (sic) bad for a NAIA guy.”
Flowers never lost faith that he could make in the NFL even if others may have doubted him.
“Told ya’ll,” he tweeted on Jan 29.
In addition to returning kicks for the Colts, Flowers saw significant time at cornerback in the team’s last four games and started at cornerback in the season finale for the Colts.
For the season Flowers had 14 tackles, 10 unassisted. The Colts finished the season 4-12-1, but Flowers proved he could make an impact in the NFL.