NFL Player Releasing Seal Back Into Ocean Is An Emotional Touchdown

By Travis Greenwood

This is Trey, a 9-month-old seal pup.

NFL Player Releasing Seal Back Into Ocean Is An Emotional Touchdown
credit: Bianca Buono

In December, she was plucked from waters near Rockaway, New York with cuts on her head, belly, and flippers.

The then-nameless harbor seal was transferred to Mystic Aquarium, which is located in coastal Connecticut about 83 miles southwest of Boston.

NFL Player Releasing Seal Back Into Ocean Is An Emotional Touchdown
credit: Bianca Buono

There the mammal was treated by aquatic veterinarians with the Animal Rescue Clinic, a program founded in 1975 to help injured marine life.

Following three months of care, Trey's condition improved and she was ready for a return to the wild.

But first, she needed a new handle, and one aligned with an informal plant theme the aquarium had been using to name other rehabilitated animals in 2017.

Enter Trey Flowers, a defensive end with the — *writer pauses for DEEP breath* — 5x-world-champion New England Patriots.

A post shared by Trey Flowers (@iii_flowers) on

(Pictured above with his 4-year-old daughter, Skyler.)

After Flowers' breakout performance helped tip Super Bowl LI in the Pats' favor, the aquarium dubbed the 48-pound refugee "Trey" in his honor.

Last week, the two Treys came face-to-face at Blue Shutter Beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

A post shared by Trey Flowers (@iii_flowers) on

And Flowers, who missed much of his rookie season with assorted ailments, found similarities in their respective journeys.

In updates posted to both Twitter and Instagram (embedded below), he had this to say:

"Me n lil trey trey had the same struggle!! Injured. Down n out. They doubted us! 😂 but we rehabbed and leveled up!"

Surrounded by several dozen well-wishers, the pup was a little shy at first.

But then her NFL namesake stepped in to provide some reassurance.

And off to freedom she flopped!

Watch the adorableness here...

Super Bowl Champion Trey Flowers Gives A Helping Hand At Seal ...

Earlier this morning, Super Bowl champion Trey Flowers teamed up with Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program to help release the first rehabilitated seal of the year. Following the Patriot's Super Bowl win, Mystic Aquarium called an audible when deciding on a name for the first seal to be released this year. Aquarium staff got creative and opted to honor the player who led the defense with six tackles and 2 1/2 sacks, thus fueling an epic comeback that resulted in the Patriots overtime victory.

Posted by Mystic Aquarium on Tuesday, February 28, 2017

...and here!