It was a perfect combination of size and speed: football and track and field. A burly, 6-foot-4, 235-pound National Football League wide receiver lined up alongside eight slim, short-distance sprinters at the USA Track and Field Golden Games and Distance Open in Walnut, California, in mid-May.
Yes, that really happened.
After proving his worth for two seasons of professional football out on the gridiron, DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks accepted an invitation from the United States Track and Field team to participate in a 100-metre sprint at the national team’s Olympic Summer Games trials.
Metcalf, as many may recall, has displayed sensational speed on the field, most notably reaching 22.64 miles per hour in an other-worldly impressive rundown of Arizona Cardinals’ free safety Budda Baker back in October of 2020. That performance, alongside his monstrous physique, caught the attention of the nation’s best track and field team.
“For everyone asking if we have a spot open on our relay team for Metcalf, NFL players are welcome to come test their speed against real speed next year at the Olympic Trials,” the USA Track and Field Twitter account wrote in a Tweet following DK’s viral rundown.
“See you there,” Metcalf replied to the Tweet.
Bursting onto the scene with an incredible 4.33 40-yard dash time (fastest ever by a player 225 pounds or heavier) and 27 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the 2019 NFL Draft Combine, Metcalf hadn’t actually run track since his high school days in Oxford, Mississippi. The Pro Bowl wideout began training for the 100-metre dash two months prior to the event in order to have some familiarity with his surroundings come race day in May.
Emblazoned with a cross necklace and earrings, Metcalf finished 15th of 18 participants in the 100-metre sprint. The 23-year-old posted a time of 10.363 alongside many seasoned Olympic runners and other hopefuls in California, staying on pace with the leaders and only coming up three-tenths of a second shy of the leader, Isiah Young.
“I’m just happy to be here, excited to have the opportunity,” Metcalf said on the NBC broadcast following his heat. “I just thank God for the opportunity to come out here and run against world-class athletes like this. It was just a blessing… I am a football player and an athlete first. I am a man of God.”
Never one to shy away from publicly speaking out on his faith, Metcalf quickly took to Twitter following the race, thanking both God and USA Track and Field for the opportunity. Metcalf has made it commonplace for his followers to see messages of praise and thanksgiving to God over his time at Ole Miss and with the Seahawks.
“I look at football as a platform to help other people or to spread the word of God,” he told The Daily Mississippian back as a member of the Rebels. “I know many people don’t want to just sit in church and just listen or to go to church. Me looking at it as ‘How’d you get here, what’d you do?’ I put my faith in God, my trust in God and that He’s blessed me each and every day to play the game of football. Me spreading the Gospel through football is how I look at it.”
Through his two-year NFL career, Metcalf has hauled in 141 total receptions for 2,203 yards, to go alongside 17 touchdowns. In three postseason games, the speedy wideout has 315 more yards and three touchdowns on 15 receptions. 2020 saw the second-year pro rack up 10 touchdowns and 1,303 yards while earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Metcalf averaged 81 yards a game and owned a 64.3 catch percentage while finishing second amongst all receivers in passes of 40+ yards caught on the season.
Although putting up an incredible 100-metre dash performance, Seahawks fans won’t have to worry about Metcalf dropping his playing weight and switching the focus to track and field in the near future.
“It’s time for mini-camp,” Metcalf laughed post-race. “These are world-class athletes; they do this for a living. It’s very different from football speed, from what I just realized. So, like I said, just excited to be out here.”