It was against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 of 2016, Lockett’s second NFL season. He hurt his knee on an awkward landing in the second quarter, forcing him to the sideline for what he feared would be the remainder of the afternoon. But he returned in the fourth quarter, hauling in a 53-yard pass from Russell Wilson to give Seattle late life in what turned out to be a 9-3 loss.
“I told Russ to throw me the ball,” Lockett recalled. “And he said, ‘Well, what percentage are you feeling, like [what] out of 10?’ And I don’t remember what I said. I think I said like seven and he was trying to figure if that was good or not. I was just like, ‘Throw it. I’ll catch it.’ He threw me the ball and I caught it.
“That was probably my favorite play because I did not think I was going to be able to go back in. And people were shocked and I was shocked because I went out there thinking I wasn’t going to play and I went back in the game and caught the ball.”
That play came up when Lockett spoke with reporters last week for the first time since signing a four-year, $69 million extension earlier this month.
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“The reason why I tell that story was because I’ve learned you’ve got to learn how to make it work,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen. You never know what adversity is going to come your way but you figure out how to make it work.”
The 28-year-old Lockett has been making it work en route to three consecutive seasons with at least 950 receiving yards and four straight without missing a game. That helps explain why the Seahawks felt comfortable giving him $37 million in guarantees, big money that is not common for receivers his age.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, that’s the fourth-highest amount of guaranteed money ever given to a wide receiver who’s 28 or older. The only such receivers to get more guarantees are Julio Jones ($66 million at age 30), Keenan Allen ($50 million at age 28) and DeAndre Hopkins ($49.4 million at 28).
The $17.25 million in new-money average of Lockett’s extension ranks 10th among current wide receivers, according to Spotrac, and represents a huge raise from the $10.55 million APY of his 2018 deal. That three-year extension Lockett signed that summer initially seemed steep for a player who had topped out at 51 catches, 664 yards and six touchdowns over his first three seasons. But it was an indication of the Seahawks’ prescient belief that he was about to break through after slogging his way through 2017.
Lockett made it back in time for that season’s opener despite suffering a compound leg fracture in Week 16 of 2016 but estimated that he was only 75-80% of his usual self all year.
“That sucked,” he said. “But I had to learn how to be able to make it work. I had to learn how to walk. I had to learn how to crutch around. I had to go through the process and even after that I couldn’t sit on my butt and complain about what I missed out on or what didn’t work out for me. I had to come back and figure out how to be able to play my best ball maybe not feeling the way I … used to feel. I had to learn how to still get open. I had to learn how to still beat people man-to-man.”
Since 2018, Lockett’s 28 receiving touchdowns are fifth-most among NFL wide receivers, while his 3,076 yards rank 13th. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he has the second-highest catch percentage over expectation (plus-12%) among players with at least 200 targets in that span. That knack for the improbable was never more evident than when he turned in the most productive game of his career — 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns in an overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals last October.
In the Thursday night rematch the next month, Lockett played through a sprained knee on a short week, catching nine passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. That kept alive a consecutive games streak that now sits at 64 (68 including playoffs). The only regular-season game he’s missed in his six-year career was the 2016 finale, a week after he broke his leg.
With that combination of availability and production — along with no off-the-field issues — general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll might have considered a lucrative third contract a much safer bet with Lockett than it would typically be with a receiver his age.
But in order to see the end of his extension, Lockett might have to — as he would say — make it work with whatever speed he loses on the other side of 30. He’s scheduled to make a non-guaranteed $16.9 million with a cap charge of nearly $24 million in each of the final two years of the deal, 2024 and ’25, according to Roster Management System. Those will be his age 32 and 33 seasons.
Lockett has averaged 1,025 yards and 9.33 touchdowns since 2018. According to Pro Football Reference, there have been 30 instances of a player topping 1,000 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns in the same season at 32 or older. One of them was Seahawks legend Steve Largent in 1986. But only one has done it over the past decade: Larry Fitzgerald in 2015.
Lockett actually says he lost a half a step as a result of his broken leg, not that you’d know it.
“But it’s not like I need that half a step, it’s just I miss that half a step sometimes,” he said. “Like I said, you learn how to adapt.”
NFL role worries lawyer for women suing Deshaun Watson
Tony Buzbee, the attorney for the 22 women suing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, expressed concern to a Houston television station on Wednesday over how the National Football League is handling its investigation.
Buzbee, in speaking to FOX26 in Houston, said “some of the women did not feel like they were being respected” during their first three meetings with NFL investigators, which he told FOX led to him attending the four meeting between the league’s investigative group and his clients.
Buzbee told the television station four of his clients met with the league’s lead investigator, Lisa Friel, and he has “probably four more women who want to meet with the NFL,” but he’s not sure if he’s going to let them speak with the league’s investigators.
In his interview, Buzbee did not say what the league did to potentially make his clients feel that way. Watson is being sued by 22 women in civil court and being investigated by the Houston Police Department into claims ranging from inappropriate touching to sexual assault of massage therapists from March 2020 until March 2021.
“The allegations are very concerning and the league immediately began investigating the matter under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to ESPN on Thursday. “The investigation includes gathering information, monitoring law enforcement developments and conducting interviews with relevant people willing to participate with counsel present.
“Throughout her decades-long career as the chief of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and most recently as the NFL’s special counsel for investigations for the last six years, Lisa has earned a stellar reputation as a consummate professional who conducts investigations and interviews with compassion and fairness in an effort to determine the truth.”
Buzbee also told FOX26 that eight-to-10 of his clients have met with the Houston Police Department and he was pleased with how the Houston PD has worked with his clients. In March, Buzbee had publicly said he wasn’t comfortable with his clients going to the Houston police. After a complainant went to the Houston Police Department, however, an investigation into Watson was opened.
On Thursday, a Houston Police Department spokesperson said “it remains an ongoing investigation” into allegations against Watson, but would not say how many women have spoken with police.
Buzbee also told FOX there are no plans to settle the case between Watson and the women suing him.
ESPN reporters John Barr and Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.
Tom Brady Sr. says he’s ‘salivating’ over Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New England Patriots Week 4 matchup
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady couldn’t contain his excitement with the NFL schedule release, posting on Instagram, “9/9 can’t come soon enough” when it was announced the Bucs would play the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Kickoff Game.
His father, Tom Brady Sr., is eyeing a different game though — Week 4 when the Bucs travel to play the New England Patriots, marking his son’s return to Foxborough after leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl win in his first season after 20 seasons with the Patriots.
“I saw the schedule come out last night and I started salivating when I saw that we play the Patriots in the fourth game of the season, and that we’re coming up here to make our record 4-0 after the fourth game,” Brady Sr. said on the “Zolak and Bertrand” radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston on Thursday morning.
Shortly after his father’s surprise radio appearance, Brady tweeted about the game with a nervous grin, saying, “It’s like when your high school friends meet your college friends.”
It’s like when your high school friends meet your college friends 😬 https://t.co/RF5zVB9rI1
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 13, 2021
Brady Sr., who lives in California, called Boston their “second home” and called the Patriots their “second-favorite team,” expressing love for the organization and its fanbase. But he didn’t mince words, showing the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to being competitive.
“We expect to beat the Patriots rather handily, frankly,” Brady Sr. said.
“It’s not a matter of walking out of town and being unhappy. He had a happy 20 years there and most successful 20 years there. Now he’s in another place with another opportunity to win. That’s great. And the Patriots have reloaded and they’re gonna be fit to bear as well,” Brady Sr. said.
“From my take on it, I think it’s gonna be great. I get to have a favorite team in the AFC and a favorite team in the NFC. And then they play on the fourth week of the year. It’s been a really — I’m thrilled for this.”
As far as the possibility of Brady breaking the single-season passing record at Gillette Stadium (Brady is currently 1,154 yards behind Drew Brees), Brady Sr. said, “I think that the fans at Gillette will embrace him until the opening kickoff, and then they’re gonna boo the hell out of him, which is great.
“I think the fans appreciate everything he’s done. I assume that the fans have appreciated everything he’s done for them for 20 years, but at the same time they’re Patriots’ fans, they’re not Buccaneers fans. So while you’re rooting for Tommy, you’re rooting against the Buccaneers.”
Brady Sr. expressed great sentiment for his family’s time in New England.
“How do you do anything but appreciate everything what the Krafts have done for him, and Belichick has done for him? The coaching staff — these guys have been in the trenches for 20 years together,” Brady Sr. said.
But even dad isn’t clear how long his son will continue playing. He signed a contract extension this offseason to free up cap space — which was largely responsible for the Bucs being able to return all 22 Super Bowl starters on offense and defense — and it will keep him in Tampa Bay for two more years. But father time waits for no one.
“While he’s happy now, I think he’s starting to realize that the end of the career is coming to an end and he’s just savoring every moment as he walks down the final stretches — whether it’s next one year, two years, or 12 years,” Brady Sr. said.
According to Vivid Seats, the average ticket price for the game on Oct. 3 is $1,370 with prices as high as $12,000 on Ticketmaster.
Baltimore Ravens sign Donte Sylencieux, high school teammate of QB Lamar Jackson
Wide receiver Donte Sylencieux, one of nine undrafted rookies signed by the Ravens on Thursday, was Jackson’s favorite target when they played at Boynton Beach High School in Florida. Sylencieux caught 10 touchdown passes in two seasons with Jackson.
Sylencieux totaled 59 catches in three seasons at Graceland University — an NAIA school in Iowa – and is considered a long shot to make the Ravens. Baltimore selected two wide receivers in this year’s draft, including first-rounder Rashod Bateman, and added Sammy Watkins in free agency.
The Ravens are doing and saying all the right things lately as they pursue a lucrative extension with Jackson. General manager Eric DeCosta said the team would work “tirelessly” after the draft to get a new deal done with Jackson, and he recently told the team’s website that Jackson is “the kind of guy you’d be very proud of to have as a son.”
This isn’t the first time the Ravens have reunited Jackson with one of his former wide receivers. In 2019, the Ravens signed Jaylen Smith, Jackson’s top target at Louisville, as an undrafted rookie. Smith was cut before the regular season that year.
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