Okay, so on to a happier topic for UW fans — the return of Jake Locker for one more season.
Figuring you guys couldn’t get enough of that subject, I dialed up Scott Locker, father of Jake, to talk about the quarterback’s announcement Monday that he will stay a Husky for one more season.
And he admitted that he was as caught off-guard by the suddeness of Jake’s decision as much of the rest of the football world.
Father and son had spent much of the weekend together in Ferndale, Scott saying he had a lot of time alone with Jake when the women in the house decided to do some Christmas shopping.
“We basically just drove around and talked about a lot of things,” he said. “It was nice to finally get a little bit of time, just me and him. It was kind of like the old days where we could spend a lot of time talking about a lot of things that are important to him and his future.”
Still, Scott said he didn’t know Jake was close to a decision until the phone rang Monday morning, saying that when the two parted on Sunday “I still thought it was kind of up in the air.”
But then the phone rang Monday morning.
“He called me pretty much first thing Monday morning and said he was writing a paper, and then we yakked a little bit and he said ‘yeah, I’ve decided what I’m going to do,”’ Scott Locker said. “I knew at that point what his decision was going to be.”
Scott Locker said his first reaction was to ask if Jake didn’t want to wait to see what the NFL Advisory Committee would say.
“He said ‘that’s really not part of it for me, Dad. It really doesn’t matter where they had me,”’ Scott Locker said.
Instead, what Jake Locker told his father is that what was important was that “I want to go back and play one more year of college and experience it to the fullest so I can be there for the full time and then move on to basically getting a job and doing what I’m meant to do.”
In fact, Scott Locker said money and draft positioning was never really a big part of their discussions — and which means that so much of the great debate that has ensued since about whether or not he made the right decision is irrelevant in terms of why the decision was made.
“The only bit of conversation we had even involving the money part was that the amount of money that people talk about with pro sports today is so big that either way, whatever happens with the (labor agreement), there’s always going to be money there, and money that’s better than the every day guy that goes out and gets a job,” he said.
“He’s got faith in the way things work in the world, that if you do the right things and do what you love and work hard at what you do, that good things will happen to you. He believes in the guys around him and the coaching staff. He thinks he’s in a really good situation, and I agree with him in that.”
So Scott Locker said the final year won’t be spent worrying about whether the decision turns out to be “right” in the perception of others.
“His security, I believe, is not going to really be that much in question from a lot of angles,” he said. “He’s got a lot of options sports-wise (including his baseball contract with the Angels) and he’ll get out of school with a degree. If the sport thing didn’t end up working out, he’s a winner and a survivor and he will find a way to make it work.”
The manner in which the season ended also played a role in Locker’s decision.
“I really believe the team part of it was a big part of it for him,” Scott said. “He’s a team guy — that’s been the way he’s been since he’s been a kid. He knows no one can carry a squad and the team getting better and being more successful at the end of the year, I think that had a lot to do with it and that there’s a lot of hope there that these boys can get it rolling.”
Ultimately, though, he kept coming back to simply not wanting to leave UW right now and end his college years.
“One of the main things we talked about is that Jake has always finished everything he has started,” Scott Locker said. “Not that I would have viewed that as quitting anything, but I think he would have viewed it as that, as kind of having unfinished stuff he would like to accomplish here. And the thing about this situation is he can still end up going to the NFL, it’ll just be a year later. But you can never really go back and go to college for the college experience and the friendships and relationships that you have — you can’t go back to that. I think that’s really important to him because he’s a relationship kind of guy. I think he wanted to be true to his initial commitment and true to his self, and ultimately it was an easy call to him.”