RENTON — Wearing his new No. 37 Seahawks blue jersey, Quandre Diggs jogged from one practice field to another Wednesday afternoon at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, his final steps to reconnect with best friend Tyler Lockett.
Lockett was the first person Diggs called Tuesday after Diggs found out he had been traded from Detroit to Seattle. Diggs called twice, actually, and Lockett missed them both because he was in the middle of a marketing event during a players’ off day.
Lockett then saw a call from his dad, and then a message from Seattle general manager John Schneider: “We got your boy Diggs.”
Lockett and Diggs previously had conversations about maybe one day playing together, after years of competing against each other in the Big 12 Conference and in the NFL. Both were stunned when it actually came to be, and they celebrated with a FaceTime call Tuesday.
“We talked about this before, if we could be teammates (someday), and just having this opportunity — it’s a great team here, a great organization, and I just like to be around great people with a great vibe,” Diggs said Wednesday.
As part of the trade, the Seahawks sent to Detroit a 2020 fifth-round draft pick. (Seattle had acquired an additional fifth-rounder when it dealt tight end Nick Vannett to Pittsburgh last month.) The Lions also sent to Seattle a 2021 seventh-round pick.
Diggs is expected to play for the Seahawks in Atlanta on Sunday, and coach Pete Carroll said the 26-year-old former University of Texas standout will eventually fit in at both safety positions in Seattle’s secondary.
“He’ll play both for us in time here,” Carroll said. “We’ll start him out where we can fit him best. You’ll see in time on that one. … We got pretty thin really fast (in the secondary), so a rare opportunity to get an experienced player that can fit a lot of roles. It gives us real flexibility. John made a great move to get this done.”
The Seahawks had an immediate need at the position with starting strong safety Bradley McDougald questionable this week with a back injury and backup Lano Hill out for at least a couple weeks with an elbow injury.
Carroll said he was surprised a veteran player like Diggs was available on the trade market.
Diggs was too.
He said he was taking a nap with his 3-month-old daughter, Ariya Marie, Tuesday in Detroit when his phone started to buzz.
“I was blinded by it, honestly,” Diggs said.
A team captain, Diggs was a regular starter at strong safety the past three seasons for the Lions. He missed most of two games this season with a hamstring injury, and after the trade Tuesday reports out of Detroit suggested management there wasn’t pleased with his productivity.
Diggs indicated Wednesday he had heard about some of those reports.
“I worked my tail off for those guys in that locker room,” he said. “I’ve changed how I went about business around there. It’s tough to leave those (teammates) and I miss those guys, but I guess that’s just how things go. …
“It’s tough to compare my productivity. I’ve made a lot of big-time tackles this past year. I’ve saved a couple touchdowns, stuff like that. But those things don’t show up in a stat sheet. If that’s how it is, they’ll spin it how they want it to be spinned. I’ll take the high road and be the best person that I can be.”
Lockett said he and Diggs have been best friends for a few years, after both signed with the same agency out of college. They had known each other for quite some time because Lockett’s uncle, Aaron Lockett, and Diggs’ older brother, Quentin Jammer, were good friends.
“He’s a great guy,” Lockett said, adding he was “thrilled” to have Diggs with the Seahawks.
“I never knew he’d end up here, besides playing against each other,” Lockett added. “Just the fact that he’s up here now makes it even better. It’s another home away from home, and to have another really good friend here to grow with you along the way, to continue to push each other to get better it says a lot.”