Super Bowl Champion Ricardo Lockette recounts the story of his final NFL game, in which he received a hit he feared might kill him.
Ricardo Lockette came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He bounced around the league for a couple of seasons on three different practice squads: the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears.
Lockette finally got his chance to play in his second stint with Seattle as a special teams player. It was 2013, the year Seattle demolished Denver to win Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8. Lockette had one catch in the game and in his first season on the field was already a champion.
The following year, Lockette was the intended receiver of the famous pass Malcolm Butler intercepted to end Seattle’s quest for back-to-back titles. New England won 28-24. The next season would be his last. Here’s how Lockette recalls his final day on an NFL field.
“It was Nov. 1, 2016. We were playing the Cowboys. Typical day, getting dressed in the locker room. Music going, blasting. A great day!”
“I guess it was towards the second quarter. A punt, I’m usually the first one to get down there. I got two guys in front of me. I give ’em a move, I’m running, I got ’em off of me. I feel like I am free. I can see the guy directly in front of me, so I know I got him. I know they can’t stop me. I’m running, and running and running and bow, lights out.”
Lockette had been blind-sided by Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, who was penalized for the illegal hit. He sustained ligament damage in his neck, a disk injury and suffered a concussion that ultimately led to his retirement.
Laying on field:
“I wake up and I am looking at the huge screen, the biggest in the NFL, but it is quiet. I can’t hear anything and I am just laying there. I’m staring at the top of it wondering if I will ever walk again, wondering if that was my last play. I’m wondering if my Mom and my daughter are in the stands crying. I’m wondering if I’m about to die in front of my teammates, in front of the whole world. So at that point, the stuff that used to be important to me, is not important at that time. Nobody cares about a diamond ring when you are on your death bed.”
Starting to pray:
“I can see them picking my hand up. I can look over and see em pick up my hand, and just drop. I can see em moving their mouth, seeing if I have feeling in different places and there was nothing. I’m like, yeah, I’m for sure going to die. I can’t be a gladiator and say I wasn’t scared. I was definitely scared, but I was like, man, this is how I am going to die.”
“I wish I could hug my daughter. I wish I could hug my mom. If you realized you had two hours left in life, whats important to you? I took that same thought, those two hours, and I applied to the rest of my life. So, dang, ok Lord, if you will give me just one more chance, if you let me get off this ground, I promise you. You know how we all had college drunk nights, I promise you I’ll never drink again, but I’m serious this time. And, I think I have been a man of my word so far.”