Tyler Lockett wasn’t expecting to see the clip of the season-ending injury he suffered last Dec. 24.
He was attending a draft party for one of his best friends.
“A little kid that was about 12, 13, ended up coming up to me, said, ‘Look,’” Lockett said. “That’s when I looked, and it was me breaking my leg.
“That was the first time I saw the play.”
The play was amazing and it was excruciating. Amazing because Lockett held on for a touchdown catch despite being obviously injured as the defender fell on top of him. It was excruciating because of the very obvious injury in which his leg suffered multiple fractures.
Less than eight months later he was back on the field practicing for his team, and this week he was featured in the Seahawks Spotlight on “Danny, Dave and Moore.”
“It doesn’t scare me or anything like that,” Lockett said of seeing the injury. “It was just a freak accident. Something that happened, and I learned about life throughout those whole eight months off. I wasn’t going to let that injury determine what my NFL career and my future was going to look like.”
Lockett did not appear in a preseason game, but was ready for the regular-season opener where he resumed his duties returning kicks and punts in addition to catching seven passes, which ranks second on the team after two games.
It’s the culmination of eight months of work for Lockett to rebound from the injury.
“I wasn’t going to come back and have excuses and blame that for me not continuing to grow and become a better receiver/returner and all those things,” he said. “So I just used it as an advantage. I wanted to continue to build myself up, get myself back up to where I was.”
Tyler Lockett has been practicing since the beginning of August, but he was held out of the Seahawks’ preseason slate because the team wanted to ensure he was fully healed from the broken leg he suffered against Arizona last Christmas Eve.
So this Sunday’s season opener in Green Bay will be Lockett’s first football game in eight months. But he’s ready, Lockett says.
“It’s football. I’ve been doing it my whole life. Sometimes you don’t need a preseason to get ready,” Lockett said.
The Seahawks think he’s ready too. They’re confident enough in the third-year receiver abilities that they were comfortable trading Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets late last week.
Lockett was hitting his stride toward the end of last season. In the three games preceding his injury, he average five receptions and 78 yards per game, and scored two touchdowns.
Lockett is listed as Doug Baldwin’s backup, and as the team’s kickoff and punt return man in the first official Seahawks depth chart that was released Tuesday.
“If Tyler can go, he’ll return for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Tyler can go, says Lockett.
“I’m ready,” Locket says. “Last season was a freak accident. You’ve gotta control what you can control. I have my faith, I have family, I have friends, and I’m just happy to be back on the field.”
The Seahawks’ 5-10, 182-pound receiver is no stranger to having to start a season cold, without the benefit of any preseason play.
Lockett played nine games as a true freshman at Kansas State in 2011 before suffering a lacerated kidney against Oklahoma State that shut him down for the year.
Midway through his junior year in 2013, he suffered a hamstring injury and missed one game, but fought through to come back and finish out the season. He says he was also injured in fall camp going into his senior season, but still put up the best year of his college career.
“This ain’t anything new to me. I’ve dealt with this in college at one point. I barely did anything in camp and still had to go play in the first game,” Lockett says. “I had to perform. I was the go-to wide receiver. I had to figure out a way to win regardless of what circumstances came my way, and that’s the same thing. At the end of the day, however much time I had is all the time I needed to get myself right to be able to play in a game.”
To do that, Lockett’s gotten accustomed to taking mental reps and maximizing the power of visualization.
“Usually I do all this stuff, I stay out here, catch balls, catch (from the) JUGS machine. But sometimes you’ve got to take care of your body and try to work your way back in, so you’ve gotta visualize things instead of trying to do it all the time physically,” Lockett says. “I look at film, I watch myself – sometimes when you watch yourself you see what you need to work on. And you look at other teams and see how they like to play defense.”
Lockett was one of the five Seahawks who left the team last week to have Regenokine treatment performed.
Michael Bennett, Luke Joeckel, Michael Wilhoite and Cliff Avril were the others who underwent the procedure. Linebackers K.J. Wright and D.J. Alexander had also previously gotten the Regenokine blood-spinning treatment and reported positive results..
Lockett says the players talked to Wright and Alexander about the treatment and based in part on their feedback, decided to try it for themselves.
“I feel great. I feel like I got a new knee, I feel amazing,” Lockett said, adding that he couldn’t divulge too many details about the procedure because “we’re not supposed to talk about it too much.”
But, “I’m just happy that it worked,” Lockett said.