Ricardo Lockette is retiring from the NFL after four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Lockette, who first came to Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2011, suffered a serious neck injury in Seattle's win at Dallas last November.
Lockette signed with the Seahawks as a raw, speedy receiver out of Fort Valley State—he won an NCAA Division II national championship in the 200-meter dash—and after spending most of his first season on the practice squad, he made a splash late in the year, catching two passes for 105 yards in the final two games of the season, including a 61-yard touchdown.
After spending 2012 on San Francisco's practice squad, Lockette returned to Seattle in 2013, and over the next three seasons he established himself as a fan favorite with his speed and big hits on special teams. In 2013 with Lockette serving as one of Seattle's gunners, the Seahawks allowed just 82 punt return yards all season, the sixth-lowest total in a 16-game season in NFL history.
In 34 career games, Lockette had 22 catches for 451 yards and four touchdowns, while tallying 11 tackles and two forced fumbles on special teams. One of Lockette's most memorable plays, however, did not show up on the stat sheet, but his blocking on Marshawn Lynch's 79-yard touchdown run at Arizona in 2014 was the perfect example of the things that helped Lockette make his mark: speed, toughness and effort.
As Lynch broke through the line of scrimmage, Lockette met Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson in the middle of the field about 10 yards from the line of scrimmage to help spring Lynch for a big gain. Lockette then caught up to the play on the sideline to block Johnson a second time, also giving Patrick Peterson a solid shove for good measure as Lynch continued downfield, and then just as Lynch was approaching the end zone, Lockette caught up to the play one more time to block Antonio Cromartie.
"Fantastic," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said following that 2014 win at Arizona. "The effort that he gave, I think that's a microcosm of a lot our guys and the effort that they're willing to go to, and the strain. We talk about that strain and finish all the time—it was cool. You see him off the (sideline), standing out of bounds, hitting those two guys and he still sprinted and caught up with Marshawn again and was able to knock that guy off at the end of that play. It was just a great effort by him."
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.