Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was in a Dallas-Fort Worth-area hospital into Monday following an overnight stay. That was the result of a second-quarter hit Seattle’s special-teams ace never saw by Cowboys safety Jeff Heath on a Jon Ryan punt during Sunday’s 13-12 win at Dallas.
Two Seahawks officials told me in the locker room following the game Lockette was to spend Sunday night at a Texas hospital with a team trainer that stayed behind with him. The rest of the team arrived home at SeaTac Airport after 11 p.m. Seattle time.
His teammates continued to express their support as they landed Sunday night:
Some of them also remained steamed over the hit that sent him there.
Coach Pete Carroll said Lockette had a sore neck and had undergone concussion testing following a moment Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said was the scariest he’d ever been involved with on any field. Lockette, usually Seattle’s No. 4 wide receiver, had more targets (two) than top wide outs Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse combined well into the second quarter. Then he was getting his usual double-team in the open field while as the gunner running down to cover a punt by Ryan on the next-to-last play of the opening half.
He never saw Heath turn into him and lift him off his feet with a blow to the upper chest near midfield. As officials flagged Heath for a blindside hit to a defenseless player, Lockette laid motionless on the field near the Cowboys’ star logo. Seahawks team doctor Jonathan Drezner rushed onto the field as soon as the play ended. He was out his side with Dr. Ed Khalfayan, Carroll and most prominently among players safety Earl Thomas, Baldwin and Wilson.
Those three and Carroll stayed with the doctors, trainers and Lockette as he was loaded onto and strapped to a stretcher. His helmet was still on as he was immobilized and taken from the field. Lockette pumped his right arm and raised an index finger to the hushed-then-applauding crowd at AT&T Stadium as he was stretchered off the field, to a hospital.
"It was horrible," Carroll said.
Thomas said he could see Lockette tearing up, with fears of, Why is this happening to me?
"He’s a guy everyone loves," Wilson said. "I’m trying to think if I’ve been involved in something that kind of scary; I don’t think I have.
"He wasn’t moving, for a little while. He finally started moving his eyes, moving his fingers a little bit. He finally started talking to us. He said, ‘Do it for me, Russ. Do it for me, Doug.’
"Kind of crazy. … One of the best teammates you can have, on and off the field. We are praying for him. ... It was an emotion thing for every single person on this football team. We care for him so much.”
Officials flagged Heath a 15-yard foul for what referee Carl Cheffers announced as "a blind-side" hit, though it was from the front. As Lockette was down both bench areas emptied and players from each team traded shouts and pointed fingers. Tarvaris Jackson was among the most vocal Seahawks barking at Cowboys.
As Lockette was being strapped to the stretcher, teammate Richard Sherman gathered almost all the Seahawks around him a few yards to the left of the injury scene and led what appeared to be a brief, fiery, impassioned talk.
The message: Not stoop into retaliation against the Cowboys and to keep the mission intact of winning the game.
Carroll likened it to a hit former Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate put on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee in the open field during a scramble by Wilson in a 2012 game in Seattle. Tate got a personal foul and $21,000 fine for that.
Sunday Carroll said it appeared to be a hit for which the NFL will fine Heath.
Afterward, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett vented.
"I thought it was a classless play, from everybody down," Bennett said. "I though their coach could have come to the aid of our player to see if he was OK. That’s what Pete Carroll would have done. I thought Jason Garrett should have done a better job if that.
"I thought the referees sucked. When something happens like that, it is their job to protect the players. But they haven’t been doing a very good job of it this year."
Bryant railed profanely in the other locker room after he saw a video circulating the internet from the Twitter feed of a DFW-area television digital reporter that claimed he was basically taunting the Seahawks and saying Lockette got what he deserved.
"I won't ever, ever, ever, ever wish bad on a player that's been knocked down. C'mon, man. Stop with the bulls***," Bryant said, via Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Not once did I say that's what you get. I got on one knee and prayed for that man.
"I got on one knee and prayed for him. C'mon, man. Don't put clips together and do that.”
"When I saw that he was injured like that, and he wasn’t moving, I hated it," Heath told the Star-Telegram’s Charean Williams. "My intention is never to hurt anyone. I was playing hard, and he was doing the same thing. I heard he was all right, and I was really happy that he was able to move after when they were taking him off. I just was praying for him. That’s about it."