Quandre Diggs breaks leg on Seahawks terror turf, Tyler Lockett stays back with his friend

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Quandre Diggs lay on the turf, broken. Medical personnel immediately summoned a motorized cart.

Sidney Jones punched the air nearby and stomped around the field in anger.

D.J. Reed threw his helmet off and away.

Diggs’ teammates who weren’t on the field Sunday when the Pro Bowl safety became the latest Seahawks player seriously injured on this Seattle field of horrors in Arizona came off the sidelines and across the field to him.

The entire Seahawks team stood and watched as paramedics put an inflatable cast over Diggs’ right leg that was broken in two places. The free safety had tried to change directions to get to a Cardinals ball carrier in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s 38-30 upset win in the season finale. His feet gave way in the turf, and a Cardinals lineman appeared to crash down onto the lower half of Diggs’ leg while his cleats were anchored to the ground.

“I was stunned,” linebacker Jordyn Brooks said.

Diggs was distraught and appeared to be in tears as he left the field on the back of the cart.

Coach Pete Carroll said following the game Diggs had a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle. He needed surgery and was staying behind for that Sunday night in Phoenix at a hospital while the Seahawks flew home and into their offseason without him.

All of them, that is, except Tyler Lockett.

“That’s my best friend,” he said of Diggs.

The Seahawks’ wide receiver asked Carroll for permission to stay behind with Diggs at the hospital. The coach granted that.

“I mean, that’s my brother. But I don’t think I’m doing anything that he wouldn’t have done for me,” Lockett said of his training partner and former college rival within the Big 12 Conference, when Lockett was playing for Kansas State and Diggs for Texas.

Diggs posted on his Twitter account Sunday night: “Gods plan is better than mine! Thankful always! I appreciate the love and support and trust me I’ll be back!”

Quarterback and captain Russell Wilson summarized the teams mood about Diggs’ injury when he said: “That one hurt tonight.”

What made the injury even more painful for Diggs: he was in the last quarter of the final game of his contract. He’d been wanting a new one from the Seahawks since before last summer. That’s when he held in from training camp: showed up but refused to practice.

Veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap knows the cold business of the NFL. He shook his head at Diggs breaking his leg just as he was about to enter free agency.

“I have no words,” Dunlap said.

Carroll called it “a heart-breaker.”

“Everybody loves this guy so much because of who he is,” Seattle’s coach said. “He is such an embedded leader, character, the toughness, all of the stuff that he stands for. The guys just love this guy.”

An injured Seattle Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs grimaces as he is attended to by Seahawks training and medical staff during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
An injured Seattle Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs grimaces as he is attended to by Seahawks training and medical staff during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Carroll sounded almost amazed the Seahawks held onto their lead and finished off the upset win of the Cardinals after they watched Diggs get driven away on the back of the cart while wearing an air cast.

“It crushed everybody, and it was ignored in the way that they finished,” Carroll said. “They finished for him.

“My heart is broken for him getting hurt like that.”

Brooks, the second-year linebacker, said Diggs is the teammate who keeps him most accountable on Seattle’s defense.

How does Diggs do that?

“Yelling,” Brooks said.

After his mentor’s injury, Brooks gathered the Seahawks’ defense in a huddle and told them to win the game for Diggs.

Then Brooks finished off a wowing, 20-tackle game to set the new franchise record for tackles in a season, 183. That surpassed All-Pro Bobby Wagner’s 170 this season.

Lockett broke his leg on Christmas Eve, 2016, in a Seahawks game against the, yes, Cardinals. That game was in Seattle.

Now Diggs faces the same recovery road Lockett did years ago.

“He’ll be back. He’ll make it back,” Carroll said. “There’s some months in here, but he’ll get back for the season next year. That’s the positive side...”

Thing is, Diggs is unsigned for next season. This injury likely cost him money, and certainly peace of mind.

Wilson knows that.

“I got to talk to him. I was there. Just to see the pain and the hurt is heavy,” Wilson said, “because I know he’s played at such a high level all year. He’s been the MVP of our season just on how he’s played. I don’t think anyone has played any better across the league at that position.

“I know he’s a guy that deserves to get paid the right way. He’s a guy that deserves to get all the accolades.”

It’s a cold, NFL world, at times.

“Very unfortunate. Really, really sad,” Lockett said. “When you just look at the position, being able to go to free agency, just all that stuff, being able to play the whole, entire season, all the way up to this point, it just sucks, to be honest.

“That’s just something that happens in the game of football. They tell that it’s a 100% injury (rate). You just never know when something is going to happen to you.

“You just pray that nothing like that does happen to you. All we can really do is be there for him, love him, support him during his journey of being able to recover and get back.

“That’s something that I am definitely going to do.”

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