RENTON, WA - Coming off a record-breaking All-Pro sophomore season with the Seahawks, DK Metcalf has made it a priority to test out his athletic gifts in other sports this offseason, even delving into sports he hasn't played before.
First, the speedy receiver accepted an invitation from USA Track and Field to test his wheels at an Olympic qualifying event in the 100-meter dash against some of the nation's fastest sprinters. While he finished last in his heat and missed the cut to qualify for Tokyo, he still posted a blazing 10.36-second time at north of 230 pounds, a remarkable feat for an NFL player of his size.
Now, Metcalf plans to trade in his track and football cleats for a bat and glove, as he was announced as a participant in next month's MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game, which will be played at Coors Field in Denver, Colo.
“I want to be one of the greatest humans to walk this planet Earth. God says the same," Metcalf smiled. “I'm just taking it day by day and just honing as many different skills as I can."
Unlike track and field, Metcalf doesn't have much of a prior background on the diamond, as he admitted he hasn't played baseball or softball since t-ball. He never played organized little league baseball and instead ran track in the spring in high school.
However, despite the limited experience, he's not suffering from a shortage of confidence. As he did preparing for his race against some of the best sprinters in the world, he plans to get plenty of practice swings in before participating in the event on All-Star weekend. He isn't going to just show up and play. That's not his style.
It would be easy to compare Metcalf's multi-sport aspirations to Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, two NFL stars who also thrived in baseball and played both sports in the pros. But while flattered by such comparisons, the former Ole Miss standout had another all-time great in mind when asked who he would compare his baseball game to.
"Hank Aaron. The late, great Hank Aaron," Metcalf laughed. "Kinda subtle, but very, very good at his craft. We'll see when I step in the batter's box during the game."
While it remains to be seen how Metcalf will perform on the diamond and if he has what it takes to imitate "Hammerin' Hank" next month, there's no questioning where he fits into the conversation as one of the NFL's best receivers. Last season, he broke Steve Largent's single-season mark with 1,303 receiving yards and scored 10 touchdowns, earning Second-Team All-Pro recognition and making his first Pro Bowl.
Only 23 years old, Metcalf believes challenging himself as a sprinter this spring will pay dividends on the gridiron, as he said "speed is speed" and any way to improve in that area is worthwhile. He's also excited about learning and playing in new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron's "intricate" scheme, which he thinks will help him and his teammates take their games to the next level.
While he didn't include many specifics, Metcalf indicated Waldron's new offense features unique route combinations that are new to the Seahawks. Calling his new coordinator "hungry," he's already observed that the young coach is always creating new ways to help his players get open.
After reporting on Monday for the final week of OTAs along with numerous other veterans, including quarterback Russell Wilson, Metcalf will continue to work towards mastering Waldron's new system. While he didn't rule out giving track a shot again down the road and will be aiming to drop a bomb or two on the softball diamond next month, his central focus remains on football and he's excited to be back on the field.
"It feels great just to be out here with my teammates and I saw a lot of the coaches coming up, smiling and hugging us on Monday," Metcalf said. "They haven't had much human interaction because we're in the Zoom world right now. Just glad to be back and see their faces."