Trey Flowers has always been a hard worker.

A four-year starting defensive lineman for the Razorbacks from 2011-14, the Huntsville, Ala., native became one of the premier defenders in the nation leading up to draft day.

Fast-forward to today and Flowers has transformed into a starting defensive end for the New England Patriots, gaining the opportunity last week with hard work and determination.

Flowers, who finished his stellar college career as the active SEC leader in career tackles for loss (47.5), which was good for second nationally, is starting to gain popularity among New England fans, players and coaches.

Last week against Seattle, which was also his first career start, Flowers racked up two sacks, his second straight two-sack game, earning him the team lead with 4.0 sacks on the year. Now with 20 tackles, 13 being solo this year, Flowers has been one of New England’s strongest players off the bench.

His 61 snaps against the Seahawks was more than any other Patriots defensive linemen and comes after playing 63 combined snaps in the last three games. His sack total is tied for 18th in the AFC and he is one of seven defensive linemen with at least 20 tackles and 4.0 or more sacks.

Flowers’ veteran teammates say they’re excited to see his progress and know his performance has been a long time coming. See the link below to read more from The Boston Herald about Flowers’ ascension through the Patriots’ ranks.

Flowers and the Patriots (7-2) square off against the San Francisco 49ers (1-8) Sunday at 3:25 p.m. on CBS.

Swanson Honors Memories of Loved Ones Lost With Game-Day Ritual

Travis Swanson wakes up and lies in bed. This is his time, his refuge before he prepares for another football Sunday as the center for the Detroit Lions. Before he rises, he organizes his thoughts. He reminds himself how fortunate he is. This, in bed, is where he remembers.

Swanson thinks of those who have been instrumental in helping him reach this point, a starting NFL offensive lineman who is married to the love of his life, Emily. Life is good. After about five minutes, Swanson starts his day and eventually arrives at the stadium. Then the ritual begins. He finds a black Sharpie before he gets taped up and starts writing.

Read the rest of this story from Michael Rothstein on ESPN.com.

#ProHogs to Watch In Week 10

Cobi Hamilton – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton has started three of the last four games for the Steelers and has hauled in six passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. His 18.5 yards per catch is tops among all Steeler receivers and he has become one of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s best deep threats since being promoted from the practice squad back in Week 6. Hamilton and the Steelers (4-5) take on the Cleveland Browns (0-10) Sunday afternoon at Noon on CBS.

Denver Kirkland – OL Oakland Raiders
Like Hamilton, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland has taken a more indirect route to being a starter in the NFL. Kirkland, who signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent last spring, began the 2016 season on the Oakland practice squad. He was promoted to the active squad prior to Week 4 and has now started the last four games, primarily as an extra lineman.  During those four games, Oakland has averaged 25.8 points per game, 11th-best in the league, and 413.0 yards per game, which is fifth-best in the league. On a per play average basis, the Raiders have averaged 5.80 yards per play and 4.69 per rush, both are top ten totals.

#ProHogs Week 11 Schedule

Date Time (CT)/TV Network Matchup
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/CBS Pittsburgh (Cobi Hamilton) at Cleveland (Alvin Bailey)
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/CBS Baltimore (Ryan Mallett) at Dallas
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/CBS Jacksonville (Brandon Allen, Chris Smith) at Detroit (Travis Swanson)
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/CBS Tennessee (Sebastian Tretola) at Indianapolis
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/FOX Buffalo (Jonathan Williams) at Cincinnati
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/FOX Chicago at New York Giants (Robert Thomas)
Sun., Nov. 20 Noon/FOX Arizona at Minnesota (Jarius Wright)
Sun., Nov. 20 3:25 p.m./CBS New England (Trey Flowers) at San Francisco
Sun., Nov. 20 3:25 p.m./CBS Philadelphia (Jason Peters) at Seattle (Alex Collins)
Sun., Nov. 20 7:30 p.m./NBC Green Bay (Brett Goode) at Washington (Martrell Spaight)
Mon., Nov. 21 7:30 p.m./ESPN Houston at Oakland (Denver Kirkland)