Local professional football player gives back

Local professional football player gives back
Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 10:56 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Football players across the country heard their names called this weekend and will take their talents to the next level. Western Mass News caught up with one player from Springfield, who plays professional football in the Bay State, to talk about his hard work and giving back to the next generation of stars on and off the field.

“I’m excited to be on this team, I was very blessed to get this opportunity and like I said I can really tell that this is a team that’s going to be able to compete for another championship,” said Shawn Lockett, offensive lineman for the Massachussetts Pirates.

Lockett joined the Massachusetts Pirates of the Indoor Football League this offseason. The Springfield native has played professional football for seven seasons, and now, he’ll be taking his talents back to the Bay State.

“You know this is something that is not just a me thing, but it’s a lot of people who have contributed, so this season is more so a thank you to them,” said Lockett.

Lockett, who graduated from Springfield Central High School in 2013 and played collegiate football at American International College, now serves as the starting center for the Pirates, who compete at the DCU Center in Worcester, in addition to his full-time role as a paraprofessional and life-skills teacher at Springfield Central High School.

“We had a lot of young men at that time who needed a big brother and older cousin and in cases of a father figure,” said Lockett.

He was also appointed the Golden Eagles’ offensive line coach in 2021, a season that culminated in a state championship. He told Western Mass News that as a player, coach and mentor, his mentality is the same.

“Be a pro. On and off the field, you know you’re representing the name on the front and on the back, so that’s what I just bring to every single year,” said Lockett.

Lockett told Western Mass News that he’s using his platform on the field to inspire the next generation through a non-profit called Follow My Steps, which aims at mentoring students and student-athletes in the community.

“Life’s going to happen, adversity’s going to happen, adversity’s going to happen, especially if it’s athletics, you got to have B through Z,” said Lockett.

The Pirates’ star adds that the hard work, long hours and sacrifices of playing professional football and giving back are all worth it.

“Just being able to go out into the community and represent the community the right way and give it back however I can I believe is what I’m supposed to be doing right now,” said Lockett.

More information on the Massachusetts Pirates and Lockett’s nonprofit can be found here.