Redskins left tackle Sean Locklear has come a long way to get back to Lumberton, N.C.
A lifetime Carolina native, Locklear spent the last seven years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks in the great Northwest. After signing with the Redskins–his favorite team growing up–Locklear has a chance to get his first Redskins start in front of his home crowd.
“It feels good,” he said with a smile. “Y’know, it’s kind of ironic that they’re coming to see me, because I’ve always been in Seattle. I played in Carolina once while I was in Seattle and everybody wanted to come to that game. This game was on the schedule early in the year, and what are the chances of me playing? NONE.”
That is, until last Sunday, when the Redskins offensive line went from a strength, to several pairs of crutches. When left tackle Trent Williams went down with a high ankle sprain, Locklear went from being a sideline fixture to protecting the quarterback’s blindside.
“You don’t wanna go in because someone got hurt, but you have to,” he said. “Getting in there, and getting my feet wet, it felt good that I was able to play. Now with Trent out a couple weeks, I’m excited about the chance to get out there and play a little bit.”
After all, as an eight-year NFL pro, this is the opportunity that Locklear was looking for in free agency. When no team stepped up with a starting offer, Locklear embraced his role with the Redskins.
“I was a little disappointed, but I take it as is,” he said of free agency. “Y’know, I’m excited about the chance to be here and get to play. I like the zone scheme, I like Shanahan and his coaching style, and it plays to what I do. I thought it would be a great fit.”
Now Locklear will have to pull off a major feat this week, and win on Sunday with a rebuilt left side of the offensive line. Despite not starting with Locklear, Will Montgomery and Erik Cook at those positions at any point so far, Locklear feels confident in his group.
“We played about three quarters like this last week and we all know what we’re doing,” he said. “Now we’ll have a week’s worth of practicing and playing together. We’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
Locklear said that he’ll be singularly focused on the Panthers on Sunday, but 34 people in the stands will be singularly focused on Redskins No. 75. As only the second time playing in front of his friends and family, he was happy to make sure that everyone got to see him play.
“I’ll definitely be sponsoring people. If it was one of those things where I played in the NFC South and we saw the Panthers every year, then maybe that would be different,” he said with a laugh. “But this is special, and I want them to be there.”
Just don’t expect that to affect his performance on the field. For Locklear, it’s football first.
“When I’m actually playing the game, that’s as far from my mind as I can get,” he said. “But it is good to know that they’re gonna be there and I get to see them, they get to see me playing. But while I’m on the field, I’m worried about the Panthers.”