Albany native and recently-called-up Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette, left, makes his first career touchdown reception over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marshay Green during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Glendale, Ariz. Lockette’s monumental TD grab tied the game at 20-20, but Seattle lost in OT, 23-20.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Albany native and Seattle Seahawks rookie receiver Ricardo Lockette picked a fine time to make the biggest catch of his young NFL career Sunday.
Unfortunately for Lockette, it came in a heartbreaking loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Lockette, the Monroe alum and former Fort Valley State track and football star who was called up to the Seahawks’ active roster just three weeks ago after spending all season on the team’s practice squad, was targeted just twice Sunday in the 23-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals, making one catch.
But, man oh man, was that one catch a big one.
Down 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, Seattle tied the game with a pair of big plays by two rookies, Richard Sherman and Lockette. First, Sherman stepped in front of intended receiver Andre Roberts for an interception that set up a chip shot field goal by Steven Hauschka, then on the Seahawks’ next possession Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson lofted a long 61-yard touchdown pass to the kid they call “The Rocket,” who torched Arizona DB Marshay Green with his blazing speed to make it 20-20 with 7:47 remaining. Lockette ran a 4.37 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine earlier this year — the best by any WR and the fourth-fastest time overall — which caught the eye of Seattle coach Pete Carroll and eventually landed Lockette a three-year contract, despite not being selected in April’s NFL Draft.
But Lockette didn’t get called up from the practice squad until three weeks ago when the Seahawks played at the Chicago Bears during a 38-14 win, although Lockette never saw the field in that game. Then last week during a 19-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Lockette finally saw his first NFL regular-season action — he caught just one pass in during a disappointing preseason — when he snagged a crucial pass for 44 yards that eventually helped the Seahawks take the lead in that game before falling on a late 49ers field goal. That catch against San Francisco also made him the team’s leading receiver last Sunday, just like he was again Sunday against Arizona with his one catch for 61 yards.
Lockette, who won the NCAA Division II national title in the 200 meters while at Fort Valley State, called his breakout game against the 49ers a dream come true.
“I was just hoping I got a chance to make a play for my team,” he said in an interview after the game against San Fran. “It felt great.”
Jackson, meanwhile, said this week that Lockette’s progression from the first time he laid eyes on him until now has been nothing short of amazing.
“He was kind of like a deer in the headlights when he first got here. (Ricardo was) just running ... running real fast like Forrest Gump — just running,” Jackson said with a laugh during his weekly press conference this week that was posted on the Seahawks’ official team website. “But he’s gotten better throughout the season. He’s come out here and worked hard every day; scout team stuff, making great catches every day. Every day he’s outrunning somebody, making great catches ... He’s come a long way since Day 1 (of) training camp.
“He’s still got a long way to go, but he can definitely do it.”
Lockette (6-foot-2, 211 pounds) is the third Albany native currently playing in the NFL, joining fellow Monroe grad Deion Branch (New England Patriots) and Dougherty High alum Darryl Smith (Jacksonville Jaguars).