When he announced his retirement earlier this offseason, former Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette made it clear that he didn't feel sorry for himself despite having his career cut short by a serious neck injury.
"It's not a sad day for me," Lockette said in May, sitting with his parents, Earl Sr. and Felita, his brother Earl Jr., and his girlfriend Jamaica Terry. "Life goes on. I never really wanted to be an Olympic track star or an NFL player. I just wanted to be great, I wanted to be great at something. I wanted to make my family proud. And hopefully I've done that.
Yet even if Lockette has a good attitude about the unfortunate cards he was dealt, that doesn't mean the career-ending injury he suffered in Dallas last season isn't still on his mind. In a recent piece for ThePlayersTribune.com, Lockette wrote an emotional article recalling the injury, what his family and teammates have meant to him since, and he touches on what's next in his life.
Describing the hit, which came on punt coverage in Seattle's Week 9 win at Dallas, Lockette writes:
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 notes that Seahawks trainers, as well as emergency responders, saved his life that afternoon.
My life was in the right hands. I had an amazing team of people around me that day, and they saved my life. Honestly. They saved my life.
In the hospital, there were tears, Lockette writes, especially when his daughter came into the room to visit, but there was also laughter, courtesy of Marshawn Lynch, who stayed behind in Dallas with Lockette.
A lot of people don't know the real Marshawn. They don't understand what kind of a man he is, and how much he does for his people in Oakland. My goal in life is to have 10% of the effect that Marshawn has on people's lives.
When I was taken to the hospital in Dallas, Marshawn stayed in my room with me the whole first night. This dude had me laughing so hard that he was putting my damn life in danger. I'm laying in bed with a full neck brace, just trying to stay still, and he's just being Marshawn — talking to the nurses, making jokes, being crazy.
When I look back on my life, I'm not going to remember the Super Bowls the most. What I'm gonna actually remember is moments like that night in the hospital. Just the laughter and the love, even in the toughest moments. I mean, I'm laying there in a neck brace, I can't move, I just cried my eyes out, and here's a guy who just wants to make me laugh and forget about the pain.
Now I just want to take that spirit and joy and spread it to people who really need it. I want to help people. Like the EMTs helped me. Like Marshawn helped me. Like so many people along the way helped me.
Looking ahead, Lockette's main goal is to change people's lives for the better.
To be honest, my NFL career was like a blur. It was an uphill battle on an unending mountain. My mission now is to help people get off the streets and back on their feet in any way I can. I need to repay the Lord for helping me get up. That's my new mountain. I'm back at the bottom. I'm climbing and I'm climbing, and I'm meeting some amazing people along the way. Every person that I meet, I'm bringing them up the mountain with me.
When it's all said and done, when the temporary fairy tale Coach (Pete) Carroll talked about is over, we have to ask ourselves why we're really here on this earth.
I feel like I finally know why I'm here.
"You know why I'm here."
Former Seahawks wideout Ricardo Lockette announced his retirement from the NFL on May 12, 2016. Take a look back at his best photos in a Seattle uniform.