This year, the NFL and Pepsi are teaming up to launch a brand new digital series called Zone Reads. Zone Reads is a fun, tongue-in-cheek series that stars NFL players reading fan tweets.
Lockett described the fun new series:
“Pepsi has done something that allows fans to see what we’re like as players outside of football. Obviously, it’s hard for fans to be able to see our character and the funny things that we do. This allows us to be able to interact with our fans.”
Check out episode one!
Without further ado, let’s jump into this interview! I am talking in bold and Tyler’s responses are in italics.
Before you entered the draft last year, which team did you think would pick you? Did you have any feelings or inclinations as to who would select you?
“I mean I had an idea...as far as the agent and him representing you...he lets you know a good amount of the teams that said they really liked you. I knew the Jets liked me, the Bucs liked me, the Panthers, Minnesota, Arizona...it was probably more teams but I knew that Seattle liked me as well just because Schneider, the General Manager, had called my dad sometime in December just because he was the one who stood on the table for my dad at the Chiefs and drafted him when he was a scout.
So he told my dad that they were interested and he couldn’t wait to draft me. You know...my dad was like would you draft in the first round? Luckily I was still there in the third round for him to pick me up.”
How has Seattle treated you so far? Do you have any favorite places to eat?
“I’m really enjoying it so far. Let’s see...one time I went to the Space Needle and I was freaking out because of the heights. Going up that elevator was ridiculous I’m not going to lie. And I didn’t even know that it spins (laughing)...I didn’t know that.... if I had known that I wouldn’t have gotten up there but...I did.
We went to the crab pot. That was pretty good. I’ve been there about two or three times maybe. I haven’t gotten on the Ferris Wheel yet...but I want to. It just kind of freaks me out because they told they have a little window at the bottom and I was like I don’t need all that right there.”
Oh Tyler, I did that a couple years ago and I got stuck at the top so not to discourage you or anything...but...stuff does go sideways... (laughing)
“Oh...bro. Yeah you see I don’t think you should have told me that (laughing)... but I mean other things I like doing down here...I like jet skiing...that’s pretty fun.”
Upon entering the NFL, were there any specific veterans who took you under their wings and mentored you?
“As far as being with Seattle, everybody has a role in mentoring the rookies in being able to come up there and know what its like to truly be a pro. Just the way Coach Carroll runs his program, it’s kind of like that college feel of...you know the rookies that come in are freshmen and the veterans are seniors and you’re just molding them together because one day we’re going to be in that place where we’re going to be doing the same things to the youngins coming in. And I mean as far as everyone in the receiving core.... you know such as Doug or Jermaine, or even Russell or Jimmy, or Sherman, Kam, Earl, I mean Bobby...you name it. It matters what the situation is and based off the situation you have different people you have to come talk to, to give you advice on things.
Whether it’s marketing tips, you talk to Sherm. Whether it’s confidence stuff, you might talk to Sherm as well or Russell. You know, being able to have a heart for the game...you might talk to Doug more. It’s just different things like that but the one thing that you learn is that all you have to do is be a student and just listen to the things that they’re saying because they’ve dealt with a lot of stuff that we’ll probably deal with later down the road. The more and more we learn from them the easier it’ll be for us.”
Coming out of college, you were praised as the best route runner in the draft. How do you practice refining your footwork and route running? Can you run us through your daily prep work?
“I do different things. They got this little board...I call it like a little game in the indoor where you work on your hand and eye coordination. I do that a whole lot. There are days where I go catch tennis balls. There are other days where I kind of jog through some footwork stuff. I go through some releases. I just do everything at the moment that I think I need to do to prepare me for the game that we’re going to play.”
What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
“For me, my goal ever since I was in college was to prove to the world that God was real and give him the glory in everything and all the accolades and that stuff comes with it. I never really had like a goal that was like: I want to be able to accomplish this. When I just focused on the one goal that I wanted to do, a lot of things happened and came from it. Just being able to see that early, it makes me want to keep on doing that. Not because of the accolades and stuff that will come, but just because it allows me to play at my best and allows me to play free.”
What was your favorite moment from your rookie year?
“I think one of my favorite moments was probably the last game against Arizona. Just because they beat us pretty good at home and then that was a game that everyone was ready for. You could just tell. You could see it in everybody’s eyes. It was one of the best return games that I ever had and overall I think it was one of my best games. But other than that, if I have to pick a moment that I’ll remember forever...it’ll probably be the negative nine degrees game that we had to play. With the wind chill, it was about -22. I probably remember that game more than any other game.”
Other that Sherman, who were some of the toughest defensive backs you went up against last year?
“I mean I went up against Josh Norman... I went up against Patrick Peterson. I’m trying to think of anyone else who I went up against. As far as I can remember, those were two of the top defensive backs that were rated at least top 100...basically the top 30. For me being able to go against Sherman a lot makes me a lot better just because although you may not beat him every single play or it looks like he’s stopping you on every single play, you never know how much better you’re getting until you go against other people.
When you go against other people, you realize how much you’ve grown, how far you’ve came, as far as being in your position and how much better you’ve actually become. You might win a couple times against Sherm but you’ll dominate everybody else you go against. Or you might start winning against Sherm and you still continue to dominate against other people. Or you might lose a couple times against other people. Sometimes when you go against Sherm you might not always see how fast or how much better you’ve gotten until you start going against other people.”
What was the offseason like continuing to develop your relationship with Russ?
“I think the biggest thing was just continuing to bond outside of football and be able to talk and create that relationship away from football. It’s about a connection away from it that allows it to be stronger whenever you’re actually on the field. Just being able to spend some time with him outside of actually having to go to the facility – I think that’s something that’s really big...continuing to want the same thing. Continuing to understand your why, of why you play this game. Just that drive and that passion. For him, he already won a Super Bowl. But he still has that why and that drive in him. For me, I’m always going to have that why and that drive in me because I play for God. He wants to be the best that he can be. Obviously, I want to be the best that I can be and so together, as long as we continue to develop that chemistry, I don’t think anything can stop us.”
Last night you caught a touchdown from Russ…. and you made a little jump because you were so excited to be so wide open. Walk us through that play.
“I ran the route that was called and then Russell went on his magical experience and he started spinning, and doing all that type of stuff. And we work on that every day at practice. Even if it looks like the defense may have sacked him, we still do scramble drills just to get ourselves right. As far as learning how to get open, because we know we have a quarterback who makes things happen and so our job is to be able to get open. And if you’re open, stay open. Don’t get yourself covered up. And as he was spinning, it was you know, find a place to get open.
As I was running around, I remember the Dallas defender that was running with me and I ran to the corner...and then I guess Russell did another 360 spin and then all of a sudden he ran away from me and I was just standing there, and I didn’t know if I saw me, and so I just started doing some jumping jacks (laughing) and jumping up and down. After I saw that he threw it, now I thought I had to catch it. Once I caught it, I thought the dude was coming to hit me so I tried to hurry up and catch it and tuck it in. But as soon as he hit me, I was in the end zone.”
Many people compare you to a young Antonio Brown. How do you feel about that?
“First of all, Antonio is part of the Pepsi family...so I love him. Second of all, I think that he’s a phenomenal player. I think that we’re similar in a lot of cases. Obviously, he’s a lot farther along than I am. I think that’s it’s a good thing to be compared to him but at the same time, I’m my own type of person. I play my own game at the end of the day. If people want to compare me to somebody, that’s cool. But I try not to compare myself to other people. When you start comparing yourself to other people, you starting trying to do what those people do. I’m just learning more about myself and being able to play my game and trust my game. That’s the kind of thing that I just focus on. If people want to talk and say a lot of stuff, they can do that. But for me, I just count my blessings and keep doing what I’m doing.”
I’ve spoken to tons of fans. We need a nickname for you. Some have stuck, some have not. What do we call you?
“I think I’d rather just be called Tyler or Lockett. I mean everybody has different nicknames just because Ricardo, his last name was Lockette but he had an E at the end of his name, so when they asked me what to call me, I just said Lockett but with no E. And then all of a sudden, “No E” just stuck because I didn’t have an E at the end of my name. And then you know, Sherm would say little runt or whatever (laughing).
I always mess around with Sherm whenever we be talking. So many people have little nicknames for me like that and it’s just all apart of the game. It’s about the connections and the friendships and the brotherhood. Everybody has a nickname on the team. They’re not just going to look at you and say Lockett. They might just say Lock. Or they might say No-E. Everybody has a nickname on the team. It’s like everybody’s lazy to say each other’s real name.”