When a Gunner Becomes Must See T.V.


Punting.  Not the most glamorous facet of the game.  In fact, that may be the time you decide to grab a snack from the refrigerator.  Well, if you have stayed in your seat you may have noticed that streak running down the field after Jon Ryan booms a deep punt.  That streak is Ricardo Lockette, gunner for the Seattle Seahawks.

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Some may not know this, but gunners used to be referred to as headhunters, before the NFL decided to change it to the much friendlier name of… gunner.  Anyway, that stretch of logic aside, Lockette fits the former name perfectly.  But, it didn’t come easy.

When Ricardo joined the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011, he looked more like a sprinter and less like a football player.  Dubbing himself “Channel 83,” he has admitted since that he thought he would be a star.  But, that wouldn’t come as easy as he had envisioned.

The Seahawks cut him in September of 2012, and he was scooped up by the San Francisco 49ers.  After a season long stint with the 49ers, and a brief stop in Chicago, more than a year after being released, Lockette made his way back to the Seahawks.  What a difference a year made.

Toward the end of last season, he began making his presence felt.  He no longer looked like a track star wearing a football uniform, but resembled an honest to goodness football player, and one who had obviously learned the value of special teams.

“I had to mature and become a football player.”-Ricardo Lockette

“I had to mature and become a football player,” he said in an interview with Seahawk.com’s Tony Ventrella.  His speed and tenacity made him a standout on punt and kick coverage, and his progress has only continued.

After a practice following the 2014 preseason opener, Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider said he timed Ricardo during a kickoff at a 3.93 40 yard dash.  Now, that’s with a running start but still… 3.93.  That’s almost unfair.

It seems now that he has taken it upon himself to obliterate every returner in the league.  Per teamrankings.com, he has only three special teams tackles thus far.  For good reason.  He won’t allow them to return anything.  Of the eighteen punts that Jon Ryan has for the season, nine times the returner has called for a fair catch, largely due to the fact that Lockette is screaming down the field like a madman.

Jon Ryan is also tied for first in the league with twelve punts downed inside the twenty yard line.  Coincidence?  I think not.

It would be remiss not to mention that all of Lockette’s hard work on special teams has led to more opportunities in the passing game, where he currently leads all Seahawk wide receivers with two touchdowns.

So, as Jon Ryan steps up to pin the cowboys deep this Sunday, you may get the urge to grab yourself a refreshment.  Fight it.

Inch to the edge of your seat, lean forward, and watch as Lockette goes hunting.