Cowboys safety Jeff Heath texted Ricardo Lockette to wish him a speedy recovery from neck surgery. The Seahawks receiver was lost for the season in Sunday’s game after a vicious block by Heath on a punt return.
“He’s really tenacious and really aggressive, and I really like how he plays,” Heath said of Lockette. “We all respect how he plays. I just wished him a speedy recovery and told him -- and I think he knows -- but I just told him my intention wasn’t to injure him, and I hated the outcome of the play.”
Heath got Lockette’s number from Cowboys receiver Brice Butler, a longtime friend of Lockette’s. Heath said he has not received a response from Lockette.
Officials penalized Heath 15 yards for a blindside block, and a source said the league has confirmed they deemed it illegal. Thus, Heath likely finds a FedEx envelope waiting for him Wednesday with word of a fine.
The minimum for a first offense blindside block is $23,152. Heath, who has never been fined, makes $34,411 per week.
Heath still remains unsure what he did wrong, even after watching it.
“I don’t really know the rule, like how that rule works,” Heath said. “I think it’s a judgment call on the referee’s part. From the film, I felt like I was… I know they call it if you’re working back, away from the line of scrimmage or to the side, but I thought I was moving forward, and it’s kind of a freak deal. Right before I hit him, he kind of braced himself and lowered his head, which I think is ultimately what made the hit turn out the way it did.’
“I’m sure that they’ll have an explanation for what the flag is. I know we send those plays in.”
Heath refuses to apologize for the hit, though he “hated” the outcome of it. He also won’t have second thoughts the next time he runs down the field on special teams.
“I’m not going to apologize for playing hard,” he said. “I don’t apologize for the hit. I don’t like the outcome of the hit. But that’s my job. That’s all of our jobs. The second that you start having that little voice in the back of your head telling you, ‘Remember what happened last time’ or whatever, that’ll slow you down and you’re not going to be able to do your job. So try not to think about that.”
Heath said he wishes he had done one thing differently on the play.
“Those plays happen just so fast, especially in special teams,” he said. “There’s just so much space and guys are just running full speed. That’s why a lot of collisions happen on special teams. I guess looking back if I could have maybe lowered my strike zone a little bit, maybe that would have changed the outcome of the play. But it just happened how it happened.”