Scary Times

Ole Miss senior Defensive End Kentrell Lockett had one of the most taxing and trying periods of his young life last week. Read his account of it inside.

A week ago last Saturday, during a dress rehearsal football practice, Ole Miss senior DE Kentrell Lockett started getting a sensation that did not set well with him.

"It was scary for me and I think I scared everyone around me," Lockett noted. "My heart was racing, racing, racing. I took some deep breaths and it kind of went away. Maybe I'm fine, maybe I'm just excited."

But the rapid heart palpitations did not go away for good. They started back up after a few more reps.

"I came to the sidelines and grabbed a trainer. Man, you gotta feel how hard my heart is beating. This is not right," Kentrell continued. "That time, I had to loosen my shoulder pads because I couldn't breath and everything aggravated me."

Kentrell was seen by a couple of doctors in Oxford, then taken Sunday to be checked out by a couple of heart specialists in Memphis.

Their recommendation was for him to go to the heart clinic in Cleveland, OH, with few answers and fear of the unknown dancing in his head.

"Every night, I would go into the bathroom crying and worrying about my career and what was in store for me," he explained. "It was scary that nobody could give me any answers and the longer it dragged out, the more scared I got. When I couldn't get any answers, how was I supposed to feel?"

When you look at strapping 6-5, 255-pound Kentrell Lockett - a veteran of many SEC football battles, the last thing that comes to your mind is fear or being scared, but it shows you how fragile and uncertain life can be.

"I was glad I was going to see the best, but every day I went through a different test and nothing showed up. The final day, they ran an EP test and nothing showed up again.

Kentrell Lockett

"That's where they try to make the heart simulate the symptoms. My heart held up fine through that and went back to normal quickly."

Lockett got the good news on Friday and gained some peace of mind.

"I feel great about everything right now," he said. "I have a theory of what happened. This happened to me two years ago right before the season and this time right before the season. I think it's kind of like an anxiety attack with the stress of the season and anxiousness about the season staring me in the face."

Lockett has to go through a followup EKG Wednesday morning, but if that checks out, which it should, he intends to play against Tulane.

"I'm definitely playing," he stated. "I want to practice Wednesday and Thursday and get ready to go. I know a lot of guys who play or have played for Tulane, being from that area. I'll have a lot of family and friends in that building Saturday."

Last Saturday, Lockett had to watch - painfully - his team lapse at the end and lose to Jacksonville State in double overtime, unable to help.

"I was telling (Gerald) Rivers and (Wayne) Dorsey they had to pick it up. I started crying again. I told them a couple of days before I thought I might never play again and you don't know how important football is to you until there is a threat it might be taken away," he stated. "I told them to go out there and ball, don't let up. I had to walk away. I had an unbelievable adrenaline rush and no way to let it out. Before, during and after the game.

"After the game, I just sat there on the field looking in disbelief. It's a bad feeling when you can't contribute and you see your team going down. Watching it was a lot harder than living it."

The loss, Lockett said after watching the game in person and on film, was on the players.

"We got that lead and got lax and comfortable," he assessed. "The coaches always stress not letting opponents off the mat, but we got lax and did it anyway. We quit executing and that will get you beat every time, no matter who you are playing."

Lockett said Sunday wasn't much better than Saturday.

"After we saw our body language on film and all the mistakes we made, it disappointed us even worse. It wasn't the calls, it wasn't the scheme, it was just us making mistakes and letting our guard down," Kentrell said.

"We have to learn from that. It was something we didn't expect to happen and we shouldn't have allowed it to happen, but it was just one game. We can atone for that. We just have to ball out the rest of the season."

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