This Friday, September 1, a special event is taking place in Oak Park Stadium.
While Oak Park and River Forest High School football home openers are usually well-attended, this particular opener against Lake Park is extra special as OPRF alumnus Dallis Flowers, class of 2015, will be given an honor that doesn’t happen often in high school athletics – a jersey retirement.
Flowers, who wore #21 with the Huskies as a three-year varsity starter from 2012 through 2014, will have his number retired during a pregame ceremony that begins at 5:30 p.m. The stadium gates open at 5 p.m., and the school is encouraging fans to come as early as possible to support Flowers.
Flowers, only the second OPRF football player to have his number retired (Eric Kumerow’s #14 is the other), will be in attendance and speak, along with OPRF coach John Hoerster.
“If you look at the big picture about why you coach, it’s that you hope you have a positive influence on your players’ lives,” Hoerster said. “To see a kid like Dallis come back and be excited about his jersey being retired, I’m proud of him.”
Flowers is entering his second season as a cornerback and kick returner with the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. But the path he took to get there is truly unique.
After graduation from OPRF, Flowers attended four different colleges. He started his collegiate career with Robert Morris College, which merged with Roosevelt University in 2020. He played for two seasons after redshirting his freshman year. He then transferred to Tiffin University, but left after a semester after his coach was fired.
Flowers then enrolled at Grand View University, where he made the NAIA All-American Team twice. Then, given a bonus year in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he spent it at NCAA Division II Pittsburg State University, picking off a team-high four interceptions and returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Flowers wasn’t selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, but was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent. His work ethic led to a spot on the 53-man roster, and he rewarded the Colts’ belief in him by making the Pro Football Writers of America Association All-Rookie Team.
Taking over the Colts’ kick return duties beginning with Week 12, Flowers amassed 715 yards on 23 returns with a NFL-leading average of 31.5 yards per return. According to reports, he was the first player since 2019 to average more than 31 yards when having 20 or more returns in a season.
Flowers’ biggest moment took place in front of a national television audience on Monday Night Football November 28. He had an 89-yard return against the Pittsburgh Steelers to start the second half; it set up a Colts’ touchdown. Later in the year, he had returns of 48 and 49 yards.