CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — She’s back in the game.
Mystic Aquarium teamed up with New England Patriots Trey Flowers Tuesday morning for the release of a rehabilitated harbor seal — which they named after the defensive lineman.
The seal was returned to the wild at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown.
The aquarium took in the eight- or nine-month-old harbor seal in December after the Long Island-based Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation rescued her. She had several body wounds that needed treatment.
Mystic Aquarium ended up naming her Trey, paying tribute to Flowers’ performance in Super Bowl LI. His six tackles and two-and-a-half sacks helped fuel the come-from-way-behind win in overtime.
The aquarium chooses a theme each year to name its rehabbed animals and the theme for 2017 is flowers.
Flowers, the human, was given the honor of opening the pet carrier for Trey Flowers, the harbor seal.
Before the ceremony, Flowers took the opportunity to grab a selfie of the two of them, getting up next to the cage as the seal peered out behind her whiskers.
“Me n lil trey trey had the same struggle!! Injured. Down n out. They doubted us but we rehabbed and leveled up!” he wrote on Instagram.
The release happened as many others have: the cage door was opened as spectators watched in a hushed silence. The seal nosed out of the cage then slid out on her belly. Was she looking for an open teammate?
Trey the seal continued scooting down the beach, hitting the water to applause before her head bobbed out into the waves.
To reporters moments later, Flowers the Patriot praised the aquarium’s mission. “You see an animal out there, in need… hungry, or starving… It’s a cool idea,” he said.
When rescuers brought her in, Trey the seal weighed just 30 pounds. Tuesday, she was a healthy 48 pounds.
At 6-foot-2, the former Arkansas Razorback weighs in at five-and-a-half times that: about 265 pounds.
“I don’t know any teammates of mine that have an animal named after them,” Flowers said.