The first time I had the opportunity to see Jake Locker in action, I quickly realized that the Huskies had a special player on their hands. The guy's talent and potential is so immense that even his incompletions can make your jaw drop.
As such, for many football fans in the Pacific Northwest region, yes even WSU alumni, hope springs eternal that the Huskies star quarterback will end up playing for the Seahawks.
Unfortunately, barring the unlikely scenario that Seattle finishes with the worst record in the NFL at the conclusion of the 2010 season, this appears to be a pipe dream. However, there may be another way to make this long shot become a reality.
Back in 2008, when I spent some time in Seattle, I was fortunate enough to watch the Huskies take on BYU. What stood out more than anything else was how much Locker reminded me of my all-time sporting hero, John Elway.
Much like the Hall of Fame legend (especially in his earlier years with the Denver Broncos), Locker almost single-handedly kept a Husky team with inferior talent in contention against a BYU squad in the midst of a 16-game winning streak.
In particular, the way Locker drove his team down the field with three minutes remaining, and trailing 28-21, was eerily reminiscent of Elway's penchant for fourth-quarter magic.
With all the calmness of a seasoned pro, Locker successfully negotiated long-yardage situations, completed passes on third down and even managed to overcome a fourth-and-10 by rushing for the first down.
Eventually, with just two seconds remaining, the golden boy scrambled home for the apparent game-tying score.
Unfortunately, fate had other ideas. After harmlessly throwing the ball up in the air, Locker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the ball back 15 yards and resulting in the extra point being blocked.
Washington lost 28-27, but ever since then, I have paid attention to the man who would be King.
OK, so you're most probably all asking what this has to do with Seattle getting Locker. Simple. All he has to do is 'pull an Elway.'
When the Stanford grad was selected by the Baltimore Colts with the first overall pick of the 1983 draft, he refused to join the team, citing that he didn't agree with the direction of the team or the methods of the owner, Robert Irsay.
(Not a bad analysis, given that a year later the owner screwed the Baltimore fans over by moving the team to Indianapolis.)
Today, this may not appear as a particularly shocking story (although it would still be analyzed to death in this era of 24/7 sports coverage), but back then, it was unheard of and Elway was labeled a spoiled brat. Pittsburgh Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw publicly advised him to 'grow up.'
Elway was so adamant that he wouldn't join the Colts, he even threatened to play for the New York Yankees, where he had spent the two previous summers in the minor league.
The Colts were cornered, and they eventually admitted defeat by working out a trade with the Broncos, that resulted in the blond bomber moving to Colorado.
With Locker having the leverage of having signed a professional contract with baseball's Anaheim Angels, he too is in a position to force the hand of whoever selects him. The boy wonder could threaten to play for the Angels if he is not traded to the Seahawks.
However, the chances of this actually happening are extremely remote. Reality has this nasty habit of rearing its ugly head when you least want it to.
Here is a kid who, by all accounts, is one of the nicest and most decent people you could ever meet.
This much is clear from his decision to turn down an immediate fortune from turning pro and remain in college for one more year in the hope of transforming UW into winners.
Locker has too much integrity to basically bribe whichever NFL team selects him with (likely) the first pick of the 2011 draft, and apart from anything else, there is no guarantee that the local product would actually prefer to play for the Seahawks.
Having said that, this is one writer who remains hopeful that a miracle does takes place, resulting in Mr. Locker plying his trade in the Emerald City well beyond the 2010 season. Well you can dream, can't you?
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