Tyler Lockett pushes back against criticism for avoiding a hit

Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett is taking flak for not taking a hit on Sunday. On Friday from Germany, Lockett hit back.

The issue arose in the second quarter of the game against the Cardinals. On third and 16, Lockett caught a pass from quarterback Geno Smith. Lockett was 10 yards short of the line to gain. He ran toward it, deliberately falling a yard or two short as multiple defenders converged.

Fans who don’t have to deal with the consequences of, for example, moving in one direction while being hit by two players moving in the other direction, criticized Lockett.

“This was like one of the first times I fell short of a [first] down and everybody just thinks I always fall short,” Lockett said, via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. “I just think, for me, people don’t understand how physical the game of football is or how physical it can be. Yeah, you can take hits or you can choose not to take hits. When I was in college — I told you guys this before — one of my coaches, Andre Coleman, was like, ‘Look at Torry Holt. Look at Isaac Bruce. They catch what they can, they get what they could get and then they get down.’

“A lot of people could call you soft or whatever the case is, but they don’t understand the things that we see when you’re done playing football. When people talk about CTE or people talk about injuries and having to get all these different surgeries after they’re done. Everybody wants you to put your body on the line. For what? Your entertainment? Your amusement, whatever? For us, we put our bodies on the line every single day and so just because you don’t make a first down doesn’t mean whatever the stuff is that people say.”

He’s absolutely right. But he also said that, in this specific case, he didn’t take the hit because he believed he’d gotten as far as he needed to get.

“I thought I had the first down, you know what I mean?” Lockett said. “I don’t see the yellow line like everyone else gets to see. So on TV, I get it. But they make TV easier for anybody to know. What’s the first down? They’ve just got to get to that yellow line. For me, I just made a mistake. I didn’t get the first down. I should have got the first down. Things could have been different, but I did it, you learn from it, you keep it moving. But this game is also about durability and if you’re not able to go because you’re not healthy, then it’s the next man up. So I try not to get too caught up in it because people don’t know the injuries I’ve been dealing with, like when we talked about the last couple of weeks and all that type of stuff. They’re just like, ‘You should have done this, this and this.’ So you’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt, but you can’t please anybody, especially the Internet.”

It’s a shame that Lockett had to defend himself. But he’s right. Fans want to be entertained, amused, satisfied, etc. And that’s before considering the impact of a given play on someone’s fantasy team.

If we’ve learned nothing else over the last decade, it’s that supposed “business decisions” made by players are also “medical decisions.” A player has to make a quick assessment in real time as to whether to risk taking a hit and getting injured or live to play another down.

And it’s definitely not a matter of courage. Anyone who puts on a uniform and steps onto the field has more of it than 99.99 percent of the population.

Maybe that’s the first question those who choose to criticize players for passing on getting blasted should ask themselves.

Would I take that hit?

Tyler Lockett pushes back against criticism for avoiding a hit originally appeared on Pro Football Talk