Ricardo Lockette thankful for another chance after hit


Ricardo Lockette's playing days are over, but his path away from the NFL hasn't dimmed one terrifying moment from last season.

The former Seahawks receiver was forced to retire in May because of the neck injury he suffered in a game last November against the Cowboys.

Lockette was in punt coverage when he was injured on a violent block from Dallas safety Jeff Heath during Seattle's Week 8 win. Lockette remained down on the field for several minutes before being taken to a local hospital, where he underwent immediate surgery for ligament damage in his neck.

Lockette wrote about his memory of that on-field collision in an article published Tuesday by The Players' Tribune:

It was like being in a car accident. Everything was fast, then it was suddenly slow motion," Lockette wrote. "I was running down on punt coverage against Dallas last season, like I've done a thousand times before. I pushed off on my blocker. I turned to my left. I saw a white jersey.

Car crash.

I hit the ground, and I heard the sound you never want to hear. When you have a brush with death, people always say you see a light. Well, I didn't see a light. I heard a noise. You know the noise I'm talking about -- like when you were a little kid, bored at a family party, and you ran your finger around the top of your auntie's wine glass. It's that weird, far-off ringing sound.

It was terrifying. I couldn't hear the crowd. I couldn't hear my teammates. That's when I knew it was bad.

I was thinking, O.K., get up. Just get up.

But I couldn't get up. My whole body was numb. I couldn't move my arms. I couldn't move my head. I couldn't talk.

All I could do was move my eyes. I was thinking:

Am I deaf?

Am I paralyzed?

What is going on?

Am I about to die?

Please, somebody come help me.

Lockette went on to describe the assistance he received from EMTs -- who did "everything perfectly to protect my life" -- and the kindness shown to his family by teammates, fans and the Seahawks, which "went on for weeks."

When he retired in May, Lockette delivered a passionate and heartfelt message. He's done so again with this piece, and we recommend you read it in full.