Former Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette retired from the NFL in May, but his former teammates came up with a way to honor him this season.
RENTON — The Seahawks who play on special teams wanted a way to honor their former teammate, Ricardo Lockette.
So they came up with an idea: The Ricardo “Rocket” Lockette Award, given every Monday to the special-teams player who best exemplifies what Lockette represented: work ethic, preparation, toughness. One of the first things players see when they enter the locker room is a giant display board that reads: “The Ricardo ‘Rocket’ Lockette Award.”
“They wanted us to give it to whoever played like that,” special-teams coach Brian Schneider said. “It was a way to honor him so we’ll have 16 opportunities for guys to get that.”
“It will just be whoever exemplifies Rocket,” Schneider added. “It can be anything from great preparation to a great week of practice. But we’ll point out whatever the reason is. It could be really obvious from the game or it might be obvious to only us who are in the meeting rooms and see it and talk about it.”
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Lockette retired in May after suffering a severe neck injury during a game last season. He was one of the Seahawks’ most valuable special-teams player; he was often the first player down the field on punts, arriving just as the ball got there.
Schneider said “core” special-teams players — guys who contribute a lot on special teams — came up with the idea, including linebackers Brock Coyle, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Mike Morgan and safeties DeShawn Shead and Kelcie McCray among others. They presented the idea to Schneider, and he loved it.
“I think it’s great for our guys to take ownership of our special teams,” Schneider said. “It’s a lot different when it comes from players than when it comes from coaches. Coaches can do a million things on what they want, but when it starts coming from players, that’s when it’s really cool. The accountability factor for those guys is huge, and that makes it cool to be their coach.”
Lockette started his career as an undrafted receiver with the Seahawks in 2011. But he was cut during the 2012 preseason and joined the 49ers.
He returned to the Seahawks midway through the season in 2013 and quickly became a key contributor on special teams. He was always one of Seattle’s fastest players, but he changed how he approached the game.
“When he came back, he just figured it out,” Schneider said. “He practiced so hard and his effort was just amazing. That’s the first thing that jumps out. He figured out how to prepare and how to pull everything together.
“Early in his career, I wouldn’t say he was that. Everyone saw the potential he had, but he didn’t quite put it together until he was here with us the second time. But that’s that guys know and remember him for and that’s why he was so impactful.”