It can be hard, Tyler Lockett said, because sometimes he just wants to be left alone. But he realized recently that he couldn’t share his message about God without putting himself out there.
Tyler Lockett tweeted a picture of himself last Thursday afternoon and wrote, “No more running…Embrace the platform.”
That night, after he torched the Rams for 130 yards and a touchdown, he talked about “the bigger picture” and how he “couldn’t run away from this platform that God had given me.”
So what, exactly, was the platform he wanted to embrace? And what had changed?
“I always wanted to do that when I came out of high school and went to college,” said Lockett, the Seahawks’ second-year receiver. “I understood the position I was going to be in, and the way I wanted to do it was to show people by my lifestyle that God was real. I knew that the higher I went, the more I was going to have to be able to represent it. So I’ve been trying to do that.”
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For someone who grew up with a famous dad and was a star at Kansas State in college, Lockett is, by nature, apprehensive of attention. After he scored his first touchdown for the Seahawks as a rookie last season, he surprised his closest friends and family by…dancing.
“I can tell you one thing,” his uncle, Aaron Lockett, said last year. “You never in a million years could have paid us enough money to think that he would dance after a touchdown. That’s how I know he’s comfortable in his own skin.”
He talks about the simplicity of high school football with nostalgia, even as he sits in the plush comforts of the Seahawks’ locker room: a ping-pong table a few steps away, an abundance of food a short walk up the stairs.
“I really don’t want attention at all,” Lockett said. “If it was up to me, I would literally not do anything. It’s like high school: You just want to play and go home.”
So at times he has tried that strategy: staying at home, keeping to himself, avoiding the media when possible. For one thing, he is obsessive about his pre- and post-practice routines and doesn’t like disturbing them. (For another, he is practical about his NFL-mandated media requirements: “I just had to accept it and get used to it otherwise I get a $50,000 fine,” he said.)
It can be hard, he said, because sometimes he just wants to be left alone. But he realized recently that he couldn’t share his message about God without putting himself out there.
“You can’t have one without the other,” he said.
Lockett’s faith is central to him. Before the draft, his dad, Kevin, was concerned that Tyler would end up on a team that didn’t have enough players who shared his lifestyle and beliefs. Kevin played in the NFL and worried that in the wrong environment, Tyler’s love of the game would fade, and he wouldn’t realize his potential.
“I didn’t want him to be in one of those locker rooms where the entire locker room was different and he was the outcast that didn’t fit in,” Kevin said last year. “I knew it wouldn’t necessarily shake his faith, but any time you put yourself in the fire, at some point you’re going to get scorched.”
Tyler talks openly about his faith. He knows how fleeting even the best football careers can be, and he will never have a bigger platform than the one he has right now.
So, he thought, why not embrace it?
“I just want to be able to show that you can be successful and represent God at the same time,” he said. “Some people wonder because I’m a Christian in the locker room: ‘How do you do that? How do you deal with that?’ It’s not something that you balance. Everybody is human. They act like everybody else is evil, and it’s not like that.
“There are a lot of people who are inspired by the words that you say. So instead of me just trying to be by myself and not worry about anybody else, now it’s just going back to enjoying every moment. Because at some point, nobody is going to want to interview me when I’m done. So I might as well do it as much as I can. Just like there are some businesses that aren’t going to want to sign me when I’m finished. They’re going to want to go on to the next guy doing great. So it’s just being able to enjoy it.”