Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette is retiring six months after suffering a serious neck injury in a game last season.
Ricardo Lockette suffered a neck injury in a game at Dallas in November and had to have surgery to repair ligaments in his neck. He wore a neck brace for months afterward, and the severity of the injury became more apparent when Lockette later revealed that he could have died on the field.
In the aftermath of the injury, Ricardo Lockette maintained his desire to play football again. About two weeks after the injury, Lockette said he not only expected to play again next season but that he expected to be a Pro Bowler.
In April, Ricardo Lockette said he was taking his recovery one day and one step at a time.
“I’m healing and depending on my teammates and the training staff to get me back to where I need to be,” he said.
Ricardo Lockette was a free agent after last season, although he appeared with Seahawks teammates at events. An undrafted free agent, Ricardo Lockette became a contributor at receiver and one of the Seahawks’ best special-teams players.
He was always one of Seattle’s fastest players, and he always had the size teams want from receivers. But as he got older, he started to harness his natural talent and became a trusted enough player that the Seahawks targeted him at the goal line on the infamous interception that ended their chance to win the Super Bowl against the Patriots in 2015.
Ricardo Lockette’s injury was a sobering and scary moment. He was covering a punt when a Cowboys player delivered a hard hit near midfield. His teammates were furious, thinking it was a cheap shot. They knelt and stood beside him as he was taken off the field on a stretcher. He held up an “L” with his fingers, which stood for one of the Seahawks’ slogans: Love our brothers. Teammates Russell Okung and Marshawn Lynch stayed in Dallas while Lockette had surgery.
“It was one of the craziest things I’ve been a part of,” Ricardo Lockette said a few weeks after the injury. “I’m lying on the ground. You can’t feel your legs. You can’t feel your arms. And you can’t really respond. You don’t really know what’s going to happen in the next couple of seconds. You don’t know if you’re going to black out. You don’t know if you’re ever going to get feeling in your body. You don’t know if this is it.”
He paused and gathered his emotions.
“You just have a real blank mind, and then all the important things start to matter,” he said. “You start to think about your family. ‘Am I going to play with my kids again?’ Just the important stuff. The crazy thing is, once I got my voice back and once I was able to talk again, all I cared about was winning the game.”