BY Art Thiel 06:03PM 08/04/2017

Thiel: Seahawks get back their Lockett rocket

News was better for the Seahawks Friday. WR Tyler Lockett was cleared to return to practice eight months after gruesome broken leg appeared to threaten his career.

Tyler Lockett returned Friday to his role as Seahawks joy generator. / Seahawks.com file

Nearing the end of a dubious first week of training camp, the haze over the Seahawks lifted a bit Friday with the first practice appearance of irrepressible WR Tyler Lockett, the football amalgam of Pharrell Williams, roller coasters, banjo music and Corgi puppies. Smile avoidance is impossible.

“I’m like the little kid on the team,” he said, offering self-awareness that was as surprising as it was refreshing. “I make everyone happy. I bring out the kid in everybody. If I see somebody else down, I do whatever I can to bring them up.

“So, to see me down, nobody really knows how that feels. I’m always the happy one, jumping around getting on people’s nerves all the time.”

Enthusiastic, energetic and faster than customers at an ice cream truck in North Korea, Lockett has a kind of youthful magnetism that draws in people. Whatever team he’s on, that’s the team that everyone wants to join.

How that transforms into wins is not clear, but the Seahawks do not want to be long without it.

Lockett returned after an eight-month recovery from a leg broken Christmas Eve, just as he was re-launching his season following a seven-catch, 130-yard game Dec. 15 against the Los Angeles Rams that included his only touchdown reception of 2016.

Fans may have forgotten those contributions because they and the 24-3 win were overshadowed by coverage of CB Richard Sherman’s sideline rant against the coaching staff.

Also, Lockett’s broken tibia and fibula Dec. 24 became secondary to the 34-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the regular-season-ender, which signaled the Seahawks’ defensive vulnerability heading into the playoffs.

And of course, the gruesome injury, when CB Brandon Williams fell on Lockett’s right leg after a reception at the one-yard line, Grinched his Christmas.

“I don’t remember Christmas,” he said of his time in the hospital. “I probably opened one present, can’t remember what it was. I was half-way asleep off of those (Oxycontin painkillers). I was in the bed on New Year’s asleep the whole day too. ”

He does remember watching the Seahawks beat the Detroit Lions in the playoff opener, then getting clobbered in Atlanta by the eventual NFC champion Falcons.

“I mean, I knew every single play that was about to be ran,” he said. “I was sitting there like, ‘Man, run this route! Do this! Do that!’ Obviously it was hard, sitting there having to be a fan and watch the game.

“It sucks not to be out there whenever you feel like you could help contribute to the team. You got to sit there and let it happen and just take it all in.”

The severity of the breaks caused initial speculation that it might be career-damaging. That verdict is still out, but he’s able to run now without restrictions.

“As they let me go today, I didn’t know to do,” he said. “When I was a kid, I had a dog. When you train it, you got to keep him in a little cage. I felt like I was stuck in a cage for eight months. So as soon I was just running around, having fun and being a little kid again.”

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell indicated Lockett’s rapid return was a bit surprising.

“I remember going to visit him in the hospital,” he said.  “He was really positive. He just knew that he was going to get back and what he was going to do to attack the rehab.

“To see him be able to come back the way that he has, and to see him back out here at training camp is a special thing.”

Lockett finished with 41 catches for 597 yards, a 14.6 average, all down a bit from his rookie year. But he also was slowed by a leg injury in September. His reduced role during the season, abetted by QB Russell Wilson’s injuries, added another layer of complication to a stuttering offense that was without RB Marshawn Lynch for the first time in six years.

If he makes it onto Lambeau Field for the opener Sept. 10 in Green Bay, he already will have a victory.

“I was in a wheelchair at times, I had to learn how to walk again and be on crutches,” he said. “But I got to have a lot of memories with my family.

“Honestly, if it could happen again, I’d probably let it happen. I wouldn’t take back what happened. I really learned a lot about life.”

An admirable sentiment, Tyler. But no. There’s many more reasonable ways to learn lessons that don’t involve Christmas morning in a hospital on painkillers.

No practice for Frank Clark

DE Frank Clark stepped onto the VMAC practice field briefly Friday morning, then retreated to the locker room. He had been suspended for throwing a sucker punch Thursday that knocked a helmetless RT Germain Ifedi to the ground.

“It’s a disciplinary action,” said defensive coordinator Kris Richard. “You earn the right to be out here on the field with us and you earn the right to come out here and compete. Any decisions that are going to be detrimental to us – we certainly have to handle this internally.”

Ifedi was also held out of practice, but he was in uniform and watching along the sidelines. There was no mention of any suspension, so the presumption was it was health-related.

Second-round draft choice Ethan Pocic of LSU was in at right tackle for most of the practice.

 

 


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YourThoughts

  • Lightninbug

    “. . .faster than customers at an ice cream truck in North Korea . . .”

    Art, metaphors like this caused me to many, many times read aloud from your column over the lifespan of your sport’s commentary to anyone within earshot. When you left the PI, I thought it was all over so I’m always glad to be reminded that you are not only a fine sport’s columnist, but a true innovator with the language. I so hope when it comes to the epitaph on your stone (far be that day from coming!) that those who knew you best will immortalize you with a similar inspired notation.

    The irrepressible Tyler Lockett is definitely exerting a pull upon an original and continual fan since the beginning of the franchise. You may (or not) recall my few comments in the past concerning my opinion of politics mixing with sport’s on the field and its influence on a certain growing apathy toward pro football among many longtime fans. People like Lockett are an uplifting force on any team and they influence fans considerably.

    • art thiel

      Thanks for noticing, Lightnin. If you are so moved to help the cause, I have a link for you:

      http://bit.ly/1b7wFg5

      As far as sports and politics, I believe I mentioned it’s been that way since the first Olympics in Greece 3,000 years ago. I understand why it’s a turnoff for some fans who value the escape, but it’s a little like arguing with high tide while beachcombing.

      • Lightninbug

        Never so angry, Art. And I must add, never so increasingly dangerous.

        • art thiel

          Not quite following. Who is angry, and dangerous? You? Others? Need a pronoun here, and some explanation.

          • Lightninbug

            If you do not see the danger rising among the citizens of this country due to the horrendous dialogue perpetrated by the press and the left, there’s nothing more that I can say. I feel now, knowing something of your intelligence as I do from years of reading your column, that you just might be playing word games with me here (absolutely no offense intended).

            I do not think for a minute that an observer of the social unrest in America and, indeed, in the world at large can fail to recognize the supreme sense of unease in the people.

            The time that remains for me in this life is infinitesimal compared to
            the years that I have already put in. The sorrow I feel for what I’ve
            seen come to pass in the evolution of this worldwide crisis, which is
            horribly compounded by the descent of my country into bitterness,
            confusion, and wildly uncontrolled anger, is for those I will inevitably
            leave behind. Who can truly say what the outcome will be, but there is
            an ill wind blowing with darkening clouds of ill will gathering, and only those asleep at the wheel are unaware of that.

            It is not my place to instruct you and I would not presume to do so. Besides, you have obligations that transcend discussing such things with an anonymous online voice and I do not desire to be some “no-see-um” buzzing in your ear.

            As the Irish are often wont to say in parting:

            May the road rise up to meet you.

            May the wind always be at your back.

            May the sun shine warm upon your face,

            and rains fall soft upon your fields.

            And until we meet again,

            May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

          • D4x

            Was thinking of you, lightninbug, remembered how to ‘follow’, but not wanting to jump into anything to do with the Seahawks. Yet, wanted to share this with you, what I found while seeking a website with Realists in foreign policy, as I learn how tainted so many are by ideological frames.

            It helped to me to imagine if https://geopoliticalfutures.com/president-elect-donald-trump/

            which was George Friedman’s Nov. 9, 2016 assessment, to imagine if he had gotten enough echo to offset the disproportionate echo of The New Yorker’s David Remnick’s Nov. 9 “American Tragedy”, the actual ground zero of the “horrendous dialogue perpetrated by the press and the left”

            There is no ‘left’, no Democratic Party; they need to re-brand as the KnowItAll Party.

            See you again.

          • Lightninbug

            Thanks for the contact. We should use the method and location we used before rather than chatting here as it is a sport’s venue.

          • D4x

            YW. Edited.