Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette never played in a regular-season game for the 49ers, but he passed up the opportunity to go elsewhere in 2012 to remain on San Francisco’s practice squad.
Lockette ended up playing 34 NFL games in four seasons – all with the Seattle Seahawks. He sustained ligament damage to his neck on a special-teams play in November and underwent season-ending surgery.
On Thursday, he is set to announce his retirement from the sport at the age of 29, according to multiple reports.
As the 49ers were preparing to face the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, then-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh mentioned Lockette as one of four players on the team’s practice squad who turned down opportunities with other teams.
Practice squad players at that time earned $5,700 a week. The minimum for a player on a 53-man roster at that time was $22,951 a week. Practice squad players are free to sign with 53-man rosters of other teams at any point during the regular season.
"This is a special group of guys, and I want to do anything I can to help win a championship and get a Super Bowl ring,” Lockette said in the days leading up to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
One of Lockette’s closest friends is 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Lockette and Kaepernick were offseason workout partners, even after Lockette joined the Seahawks.
Defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie, outside linebacker Cam Johnson and offensive lineman Al Netter also declined opportunities to sign with other teams during that season, each player confirmed.
The 49ers waived Lockette six months later to create space on their 90-man roster for the signing of quarterback Seneca Wallace.
Lockette was a core special-teams player for the Seahawks the past three seasons. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks in February 2014 after signing with the team midway through the 2013 season.
Lockette had 22 career receptions for 451 yards and four touchdowns.