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Age & Adjustments: Tyler Lockett Looks Ahead To Year 9 With Seahawks

Following the start of Seahawks minicamp, Tyler Lockett discussed adjusting to getting older on the field and what he thinks about Seattle’s chances in 2023.


Over the last eight seasons, wideout Tyler Lockett has climbed the Seahawks record books. Following his fourth-consecutive 1,000-yard season, the 30-year-old Kansas State alum took time after Tuesday's mandatory minicamp to discuss preparation for the 2023 season now that he's "old," as well as his outlook on Seattle's young receiving group, and his second year as a real estate agent.

In 2022, Lockett caught nine receiving touchdowns (T-6th in the NFL), making for his fifth-consecutive season with eight or more scores. ESPN’s Next Gen Analytics ranked Lockett the third-best wideout in the league for 2022, earning an 84 overall grade. But with nearly a decade of snaps at wideout and on special teams, Lockett's approach to preparation has changed, as he prepares to turn 31 in September.

"I think the biggest thing is even though you've been here a while and you're a vet, you're also fighting old age," he said. "You're fighting things that your body used to do normally and now you've got to kind of get it going. You've got to stretch more. You've got to kind of do a pre-workout before the real workout. It's kind of different than the rookies and second-year guys coming in. You've got guys fighting to get spots and fighting to learn the plays. And you've got the older guys fighting just to keep their body intact to be able to still do what you do. So it's always going to be a battle but it's always about finding different ways to overcome it."

Mandatory minicamp is a look at the veterans blending with the rookie class, a feeling out process as the team prepares for the upcoming season. More than two months remain until the 2023 preseason will begin, but Lockett isn't taking the minicamp period lightly.

"Like I said," said Lockett. "Coming back here, one, you learn how to get back in shape. Two, you're able to be more team-oriented. You're able to get used to the relationships. You're able to create new relationships, talk to the young guys. And you're continuing to learn how to evolve. You don't have to just wait until camp in order to feel like you've got to be at your best. You can come here and still learn how to be at your best, still be able to pick up on things. You can still be able to learn how to create and how to be able to get more space. There's always ways you could be better. But it's also the mindset of somebody coming in, 'How do you approach this time?' And I think that's the biggest thing that determines if you get anything out of it or if you just are here just going through the motions."

The minicamp period also gives the vets a chance to take younger players under the wing, which Lockett has done with the receiving group. Seattle's two-time Walter Payton Award nominee shared his thoughts on the potential of the unit, starting with first-round selection Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

"I think he's going to be phenomenal," said Lockett. "Man, it's always hard just being able to get adjusted when you first come in. But the way he runs routes, the way he's understanding the way that Sanjay (Lal) coaches, the sky's going to be the limit. I think he's going to be really good at all the things that the Seahawks -- that we want him to be able to do. I'm excited to be able to go out there and work with him. Even though you're a vet, you can still learn from the young guys too. So it's always being able to teach each other stuff and iron sharpening iron and just helping each other be better to win."

Lockett and fellow wideout DK Metcalf have become one of the league's most-dangerous tandems, combining for over 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 2022. But Lockett also praised third-year wideout Dee Eskridge for his resilience through nagging injuries to prepare for 2023.

"Even with Dee (Eskridge) man," said Lockett. "He showed what he could do early on, even with the special teams. Even out here when Dee is running routes, he looks explosive. He's one of the most explosive receivers out there, whether it's the start or the finish. He's coming back to the ball. He's getting himself open. Even the other day we saw him, he ran a heck of a comeback. And Sanjay (Lal) always coaches us about being able to run comebacks in a specific way. And he killed the DB, running that comeback. Geno (Smith) was scrambling and all of a sudden he turned up field, boom, easy touchdown. I mean Dee's very explosive. He can do whatever it is coach wants him to do."

Seattle ranked No.12 in passing yards per game in 2022 (231.2), jumping nearly 20 yards from 2021 (201.9). But when asked how the Seahawks could improve their offense, Lockett took heed to a valuable stat pointed out by local reporters.

"I think the biggest thing that we could be way better at that will help us out is just the screen game," said Lockett. "I think we were last in the screen game. I also see you tweet a lot about us and the screen game, how we're in last place. So I think if we can be able to get that down to at least 20, it does wonders. Like, the biggest thing is for us just knowing how to be able to be better at it. How to know how to catch it, how to be able to get up field, trusting that the line is going to be there. Everybody being able to do their part. And I think if we can get better at that, then it makes the offensive game better, it makes the run game better, the explosive games better, the short game better. But if we don't have the screen game, then we've kind of become limited."

In addition to being a nightmare for NFL defenses, Lockett is an Emmy Award-winning producer, philanthropist and second-year real estate agent. Lockett discussed balancing his time and the differences as an agent in selling houses opposed to dealing with player negotiations.

"I don't think real estate is any different when it comes to balancing like how I did school and football," said Lockett. "It's really just having that time management. You know with the real estate, the second year was a lot more easier than the first year. And just continuing to learn how to grow. Like I said, just in football, it's really no different. When you talk about players, whether they have agents negotiating their contracts or whether you have players that's doing their own due diligence, looking at athletes, looking to see what they've got, looking at their stats, looking to see kind of like the inflation that comes up, okay, '10 a year equals 12 a year, within two years.' It's no different. It's just using houses. So like for me, I get to learn, kind of like the hectic piece that my agent deals with when he's negotiating my deals or other people's deals. So it was just kind of cool. But I like it more than negotiating players' deals because houses don't speak. You know what I mean? A house isn't going to get upset what it goes for, but you have to learn how to work with the people. For me being a captain last year, being blessed to be that, I learned that you've got to be able to meet people where they're at. You've got to learn how to talk people. You can't yell at people all the time. Some people can take that. Some people, you have to learn how to speak to in a more loving way. You start to realize as an agent, I'm here for the people who are selling their houses best interests. So it's really what they say goes. I'm just the one that's the middleman. I'm the one that's speaking on their behalf. And so it's kind of cool because you learn how to do that and then it helps me come out here, be able to be there for my teammates as well."

Another minicamp means another summer to build with 2022 AP Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith, who enters his second season as starting quarterback. While Smith prepares to turn 33 in October, Lockett has no doubt in his abilities in 2023 and beyond.

"He's found his way," said Lockett. "He got the opportunity last year and now he's evolved. And he was always speaking up even last year, speaking before games, being able to talk to us on the sidelines, or in a game. Like, that big drive we had to beat the Rams to go to the playoffs, he reminded us on that last drive in OT it's just a football game. And sometimes you need to hear that because you get tightened up. You think every play matters. And it does matter, but we're always better when we're just relaxed and we kind of play like it's pickup. When you start getting tense and start stressing out and doing too much, you start realizing, if I just relax and go play, we can be great together. It's those little things that he does that helps us to be able to be mindful and to win games."

A confident-but-prepared Lockett ahead of the 2023 season should be a scary thought for opposing defensive coordinators - regardless of age.

The Seattle Seahawks opened up minicamp with new and familiar faces on June 6, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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