One of Russell Wilson's most important past teammates has a suggestion for Seahawks fans: Give your former quarterback his flowers.
Tyler Lockett told reporters Tuesday he'll certainly take the time to give Wilson a hug and wish him good luck in Monday night's game, and in the rest of his NFL career. They may not be together anymore, but Lockett understands just how important Wilson was to his career and to the lives of countless followers of the Seahawks.
"At the end of the day, I get it -- it's football, it's competitive," Lockett said, via ESPN. "You never want to see people leave, but you've got to understand that everybody has to do what's best for them, and that's what you have to be able to understand about this life is you have to cheer people on. You can't get mad that people go to another team and this, this and this. We're fans, right? So we learn it the hard way.
"But at the end of the day, you've got to be able to separate the man from the player and you've got to understand that everybody's trying to do what's best for them and all you can do is hope that they win and cheer for them to win. So that's really how I feel about it. I think that Seattle should cheer him on for everything that he's done -- help bring a Super Bowl to this community, all that different type of stuff. He's an amazing guy."
Along with his wife, Ciara, Wilson was known to make quite the effort serving the Seattle community during his decade spent with the Seahawks. He wasn't just a franchise quarterback, but a star athlete who took time to visit children in hospitals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson increased efforts to address food insecurity by personally pledging one million meals to Feeding America and partnering with Wheels Up to launch an initiative to address growing levels of food insecurity amid the pandemic.
For these efforts, Wilson won the 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. And that, Lockett believes, matters even more than the two Super Bowls to which Wilson led the Seahawks, and the one he won.
"Russell Wilson has always prioritized serving his community, but this year, he met the challenge and more when it was needed most," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement after Wilson won the award.
Lockett is a seven-year veteran who has spent his entire career with the Seahawks and has Wilson to thank for helping him become an impact player in the NFL. The receiver will have to find a way to maintain the same level of production without Wilson, instead preparing to run routes for new starter Geno Smith.
Lockett will do so with a new patch on his chest after replacing Wilson as the team's offensive captain. He knows he can't replace Wilson as easily, but hopes Seattle won't hold Wilson's desires for a fresh start against him.
"I have no idea because I can't control what anybody else says or what anybody else does," Lockett said. "But I know that when I see him, I'll go give him a hug, talk to him ... wish him good luck not only in this game but for the rest of this season and for the rest of his career as we continue to talk outside of football and stuff like that."
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