Brandon Flowers could tell the Chargers wanted him.

They went out of their way.

When the Pro Bowl cornerback toured the practice field this month during his free-agent visit, minicamp about to conclude, a player on the field spotted him. He flattened one hand to mimic a sheet of paper. He motioned the other like he was signing it with a pen.

The message from safety Eric Weddle: "You sign yet?"

"I just laughed," Flowers said. "I had to tell him, 'Not yet. Not yet.' "

A number of factors led the 28-year-old to sign last week an actual contract with an actual pen. A key one was his new teammates. They waged a full-fledged recruitment to help deliver Flowers to San Diego, making it clear that although the Chiefs released him, he was wanted and welcome here.

Eddie Royal deserves first credit for the effort.

He started it.

Kansas City released Flowers on June 13. Royal saw the headlines. The free agent was a long-time friend. In the 2004 recruiting class, both signed letters of intent to Virginia Tech. Both were second-round picks in 2008. Both went to the AFC West, Royal a Bronco and Flowers a Chief.

Royal hurried to his phone.

"I shot him a text," Royal said. "I called him shortly after. Even before I knew our team was interested, I wanted to put it out there that I would love to play with him again. ... I couldn't believe what I was reading at first. After that, I went into action."

The Chargers were interested.

Familiar with Flowers as a player, the team approached Royal for background on the person. It was positive this, positive that. A character reference from Royal has extra clout. Royal, meanwhile, kept contact with Flowers. He even called his father to make sure he knew San Diego would be a good place for his son.