Brandon Flowers was rooting for Brandon Carr on Sunday night, so when he saw No. 39 ― this time dressed in Cowboys white instead of Chiefs red ― haul in a pass and stride into the end zone, he wasn’t about to hold back.
“Aw, man, I was jumping up and yelling, excited,” Flowers said when asked about Carr's game-clinching, 49-yard interception return for a touchdown in Dallas' 36-31 win over the Giants. “I want him to do his best whenever he's not playing us.”
So with Carr set to make his return to Kansas City this week ― the Cowboys visit Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs' home opener at noon on Sunday ― Flowers said the two won't speak in the days leading up to the game, though their friendship remains strong.
“That's still my brother,” Flowers said. “We came in together from day one, started together. But we all know this is a business in the NFL. Sometimes, your counterpart has to go.”
Two years ago, Flowers and Carr were the Chiefs' starting cornerbacks, united by their shared journey into productive NFL players and the fact they were both taken in the 2008 draft.
But when Flowers, a third-round pick, scored a five-year, $50 million extension from the Chiefs in September 2011, it essentially eliminated any chance the Chiefs had of re-signing the emerging Carr, a fifth-round pick who was convinced he was worth as much as Flowers.
Carr eventually signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract with the Cowboys before the 2012 season and rewarded Dallas with a solid, if unspectacular, year in which he racked up 48 tackles, 11 pass breakups and three interceptions.
“He went to, I think, a team that's a great fit for him and he's doing work for them,” Flowers said. “He's winning games for them. I know they're very happy with him.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has even said as much.
“The more we got to know him and talk to people who knew him well, we found out what kind of guy he is,” Garrett said. “We just think he's got a chance to be a heck of a player. He's certainly getting better as a player every week, and it has as much to do with his approach as well as his athletic ability. We're really happy to have him.”
Carr, for his part, is happy to be in Dallas.
“I had a great four years in Kansas City,” Carr said, “but Dallas was the team that showed they had faith in my ability and they wanted me in the free-agency process. So far, it’s worked out pretty good.”
Flowers could surely say the same about his situation with the Chiefs. He was a bright spot for the Chiefs in an otherwise miserable 2012 season, finishing with 40 tackles, three interceptions and 13 pass deflections. Like Carr, he also had a big week in the 2013 season opener, finishing with an interception and two breakups in the Chiefs' 28-2 win over Jacksonville.
Flowers said it was tough getting adjusted to Carr not being across from him last season, but the Chiefs added plenty of reinforcements this offseason, bringing in experienced corners Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson for a combined salary of $5.75 million, which is a little more than the $5.43 million Carr is slated to make this season.
While eager to catch up with Flowers in person on Sunday, Carr ― who said he hasn't returned to Kansas City since he left as a free agent ― seems eager to show the Chiefs what they missed out on.
“I don’t know how it’s going to feel,” Carr said. “I may have some goosebumps and chills going in there. But it’s a business trip.
“All that, shaking hands, that can happen after the game. While those 60 minutes are in play, it’s going to be a dogfight.”
Flowers agreed. After all, what fun is a friendship without a little competition?
“Aw man, after the game, my family will be waiting right there with his family ― we'll welcome each other together when we get back there to the players’ lot,” Flowers said with a grin. “But until then? Nah.”