Locker says staying was what was best for him

A huge collective sigh of relief was exhaled by Husky nation early last month when Washington QB Jake Locker decided to end the speculation and return for his senior season of football. On Friday, Locker along with head coach Steve Sarkisian met the media for the first time and talked about the decision and why it was made so quickly...

"Like all decisions I make, I look at it like I want to make a decision that I'm not going to regret 30 years from now," Locker said to a room full of reporters and T.V. cameras. "I want to make a decision that I'm going to be able to live with because it's a big decision. If you make the wrong one, it will really wear on you. I knew that I hadn't done what I set out to do when I came here. I felt that the opportunity I had in front of me with the team we had coming back this next year was a pretty good one. I want to play it out. I want to see how good we can be."

Sarkisian was asked if it was hard for him to separate what was good for himself as well as the program and what was best for Jake and Washington's second-year head coach said that wasn't a difficult task.

"I never tried to recruit him," Sarkisian said matter-of-factly. "I wanted to make sure I supplied him with enough information and the best information to where he could make a safe and sound decision based on the facts, not based on emotion.

"I think the natural thing was he was going to make the decision right after the Cal game because we just won and everybody was feeling good, but that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted him to be able to step away from here, not make the decision here, go home and collect all the facts he could collect and come to a sound decision that he could live with.

"In life we get faced with very difficult decisions, but when you make them for yourself and not based on what you think somebody wants you to do or what somebody tells you to do, when adversity strikes, as human beings you want to be able revert back to yourself and feel good about what you decided to do and that's what we tried to do. We just tried to give him as much information, but quality information so that he could come to a great decision."

Everyone will grade his decision on how Locker progresses -- he moved from a career 51% completion percentage heading into the year to finishing with a 58% completion rate -- as well as how the team performs. The soon-to-be fifth-year senior said the sky is the limit in that regard. "I thought we made great strides last year," Locker said. "We had a lot of games, if we could have found ways to win them, we might've been talking about how the bowl game went. It was a good turnaround. Just the style we played with was what I was used to watching in Washington football. I'm excited about where this team's going and the opportunity we have next year. I can't tell you where we're going to end up. But I think we have a good chance to put ourselves in a good position to have an opportunity to play with the best teams in the Pac 10 and the best teams in the country.

"Realistic is whatever you want it to be. If you work hard enough, you train hard enough, and you believe in those people in the locker room, realistic is going undefeated. That's a realistic goal; it really is. I wouldn't be surprised if we were able to come out that way next year."

Locker admitted it was tough for him, but he rooted for the Pac 10 to win the Rose Bowl when he and a friend attended the game last week.

"I actually went to the Rose Bowl and so when I was down there watching the game, being out there before the game and seeing how much goes into a game like that how much excitement there is around a game on that stage and then going out and watching all the pregame stuff all the things they do on the field before and the environment and atmosphere that was something I haven't seen before."

"We've all seen his athletic prowess and what he can do on the football field and everything he can get done and his ability to play and make those plays on the field and the great moments he's supplied us with," Sarkisian added. "I like to say he's a better person than he is athlete and I think the way he handled that right there speaks volumes to the type of human being that he is. He's a tremendous ambassador not just for our football program, but for this university and his ability to handle himself and conduct himself in the manner that he does is why he's going to accomplish great things in this world.

"It's a tremendous opportunity next year to accomplish some lofty goals and he's obviously a big part of that, but there's definite room for improvement. I think Jake realizes that, he sees it and he sees the area of improvement that lies ahead of him, he sees the value of consistency in his game and I think this decision wasn't based on where he might go in next year's draft, it was based on longevity of career and what he really wants to get accomplished, not just next year, but for the next 15 years."

Locker also mentioned that he had spoken with the Anaheim Angels and will make a decision on what he will be doing with them over the next 11 months in the next few weeks.

"I told them when I signed my contract that football is my first priority," Locker said. "I'm a football player and if anything conflicts with that then I won't be able to do it.

"We'll just have to see and see how our schedules compare." Top Stories