Ricardo Lockette suffered a concussion after a scary collision with the Cowboys’ Jeff Heath while covering a punt late in the first half that left the Seahawks seething and thinking about their teammate.
Update: The Seahawks announced Monday morning that Ricardo Lockette will have surgery on a damaged ligament in his neck. He will miss the rest of the season, head coach Pete Carroll said. Read the latest.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Seahawks linebacker Mike Morgan was right there, just a few yards away from receiver Ricardo Lockette, when Cowboys safety Jeff Heath leveled a violent hit on Lockette.
Lockette was running down the field covering a punt in the first half on Sunday when Heath stopped, right by the big blue star at midfield, and hit Lockette.
First Morgan heard the sound of the collision. Then he saw Lockette motionless on the ground. (Watch video of the hit.)
“Scary,” Morgan said. “When you see your brother down like that, all you can do is think about him and pray for him. I was running down, and I heard it. The next thing I knew, I looked to my right and I saw him falling. He was just out. Did they call a penalty on it? Yeah, it was a dirty play. That guy should definitely have to pay for that. It doesn’t belong in football. Man. They said that Lockette is responding so I’m just glad he’s OK.”
Lockette left on a stretcher, but he pointed at the sideline and moved his hands. Coach Pete Carroll said Lockette underwent tests and would stay overnight in Texas.
Several teammates took a knee by Lockette immediately after he went down. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett and a couple of teammates shouted at the Cowboys sideline and had to be restrained by officials. On a Vine passed around the internet, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant appeared to yell, “That’s what you (expletive) get” while pointing at Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin after Lockette’s injury, but Bryant angrily denied saying anything disparaging after the game.
“I won’t ever, ever wish bad on a player that’s been knocked down,” Bryant said. “Come on, man. Not once did I said, ‘Hey, that’s what you get.’ I got down on one knee and prayed for that man. Don’t put clips together and do that.”
Hours after the game, Irvin appeared to corroborate Bryant’s version of events, tweeting, “Dez was talking to the officials the whole time never said anything about lock.”
The hit on Lockette left many Seahawks players seething. In the locker room, Bennett exploded on a reporter who he thought was making light of Lockette’s situation in an expletive-filled tirade intended to defend his teammate.
“I thought it was a classless play,” Bennett said. “I thought their coach could have came to the aid of our player to see that he was OK. That’s what Pete Carroll would have done. I thought (Cowboys coach) Jason Garrett could have done a better job on that. I thought the referees sucked. When something happens like that, it’s their job to protect the players, but they haven’t been doing a very good job of it this year.”
He was not alone in his general sentiment. Many Seahawks claimed not to have seen the play, but a number of Seahawks thought the hit was dirty and unnecessary. Heath was penalized for unnecessary roughness on the play.
“I was angry, and I was confused at what happened,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “That’s my good friend.”
The medical staff removed Lockette’s facemask on the field, and safety Earl Thomas told Lockette, teary-eyed, “Man, my heart is with you.”
“I thought I could use it for inspiration, but when you come in there and realize everything we’ve been through…” Thomas said, his thought trailing off. “He’s a spark on special teams. When he goes down like that, you start to think to yourself, ‘He doesn’t deserve that.’ It kind of puts you not in a good place.”
It left the Seahawks with strange and conflicting emotions. Bennett and cornerback Richard Sherman talked to the team at halftime about handling their emotions, but they were hard to shake off.
“He’s one of the most loved players in this locker room and one of the toughest so to see him on the ground, motionless, that struck a chord with everybody,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We know how much he puts into this game, and we know how much he gives to all of us. It’s a heartbreaking moment and thankfully they said he’s OK.
“I didn’t get out of it until probably about two or three minutes in the third quarter,” Baldwin continued, “but luckily I had a halftime to help me get through it. That stuff is rough. When something like that happens, football doesn’t matter at that point. That’s my boy, and I just want to make sure he can walk.”
As the medical staff carted Lockette off the field, he held up his hand and formed an L with his thumb and index finger, a nod to the Seahawks’ unofficial motto of LOB: love our brother.
“That was a really good feeling to see that and know he wasn’t paralyzed,” safety DeShawn Shead said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about football. It’s all about caring for your brother.”