Ricardo Lockette’s NFL career ended on Nov. 1, 2015. You may remember seeing the then-Seattle Seahawks reserve receiver and special teams player being carted off the field at AT&T Stadium after suffering a terrible neck injury against the Cowboys.
Lockette was hit by Dallas’ Jeff Heath while covering a punt, and lay motionless at midfield for several minutes. Paramedics from the Arlington (Texas) Fire department tended to Lockette and brought him to an area hospital.
This week, Lockette was addressing members of the Washington State Fire Chiefs’ conference and was surprised to learn that two of the members of the team at AT&T Stadium that fateful day were in the audience.
Their reunion got emotional.
Lockette met with deputy chief Gerald Randall and engineer chief John Robinson, embracing both as tears ran down his cheeks.
Dabbing at his eyes with the sleeves of his jacket, Lockette told those in the room, “I think you got me,” as they laughed and he turned to address Randall and Robinson.
“A privilege; a blessing. Something that I don’t take lightly and I am forever indebted for,” Lockette said of getting to see the two men again.
The injury didn’t just lead to his retirement from football several months later; it could have been far more devastating. Lockette has said that he could have died in the moments after the hit.
“The doctor told me that pretty much my skull, all the muscles, all the ligaments that connect my vertebrae and the cartilage between that — so the cartilage is out, the ligaments torn. He said if I would have stood up then, the weight of my head, left, right, front, back, I would have died,” Lockette described.