RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett’s memories of Christmas 2016 are fuzzy, the result of major surgery and pain medication.
“I don’t remember Christmas. I probably opened one present and I was halfway asleep,” Lockett said.
The speedy, undersized pass catcher for the Seahawks returned to practice Friday for the first time since December when he broke both bones in his lower right leg. Lockett was activated off the physically unable to perform list, putting behind him the memories of a forgettable Christmas spent in a hospital room recovering from surgery.
Lockett’s work was limited. He did individual drills and fielded punts on special teams — where he was a Pro Bowl selection as a returner in 2015 as a rookie. Basic steps, yes, but progress toward the expectation that he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
“As soon as they let me go today I didn’t know what to do so I was just running around, having fun, being a little kid again,” Lockett said.
Lockett’s recovery has been challenging and lengthy. Lockett broke both bones in his lower leg after defensive back Brandon Williams landed on him awkwardly during a Christmas Eve loss to Arizona. His surgery started that night and went into Christmas morning.
“I opened one present. Don’t even know what it is. Can’t remember what it was. It was probably clothes,” Lockett said.
Lockett doesn’t know how long he was in the hospital recovering from surgery. He was in a wheelchair for a time and also had to use crutches. Lockett said the hardest part was spending the majority of the offseason in Seattle constantly doing rehabilitation. He believed three months ago that he was ready to start running and making football moves again, but understood the precautions being taken by the Seahawks to make sure he was fully ready to practice.
Despite all those obstacles, Lockett said he wouldn’t ask for a different situation.
“If it could happen again I probably would let it happen. I wouldn’t take back what happened. I really learned a lot about life and I really learned a lot that helped me grow throughout this entire process,” Lockett said.
If Lockett is fully healthy by the Sept. 10 opener against Green Bay, some of the questions facing the Seahawks will be answered. Lockett is Seattle’s primary kickoff and punt returner. By the time he broke his leg, Lockett had also emerged as Seattle’s No. 2 receiver after being slowed early in the 2016 season by a sprained knee. Lockett finished last season with only 41 receptions but 16 of those came in the three games preceding his injury.
“To see him come back the way that he has and really attack the offseason and the rehab that he needed to do, and to see him back out here at training camp is a special thing,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “Right away I remember going to visit him at the hospital and he was really positive and he knew he was going to get back and what he was going to do and attack the rehab and he’s done it.”
NOTES: DL Frank Clark and OL Germain Ifedi did not participate in practice on Friday, a day after a brawl broke out that included Clark punching Ifedi in the face. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard said Clark’s absence was discipline-related. “You earn the right to be out here on the field with us,” Richard said.