On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Walnut, California, Seahawks superstar wideout DK Metcalf momentarily exchanged his football cleats for track shoes.
After taking social media by storm with his famous chase-down of Cardinals safety Budda Baker last October, which registered at a top speed of 22.64 miles per hour according to Next Gen Stats, Metcalf was extended a tongue-in-cheek offer from USA Track and Field to "test [his] speed against real speed."
"See you there," he promised. And just a handful of months later, his promise has been fulfilled.
Participating in the 100-meter segment of the USATF Golden Games and Distance Open, Seattle's stud pass-catcher hoped to qualify for Olympic trials with his performance. Consensus expectations were fairly low entering the event, with many believing Metcalf would be left in the proverbial dust by his fellow competitors.
However, while the third-year man out of Ole Miss did indeed fail to qualify, he didn't struggle to hold his own. Finishing three-tenths of a second off the highest time posted in both heats - 10.09 by USA's Isiah Young - Metcalf 'wowed' viewers with an impressive mark of 10.37 seconds—good enough to put him ahead of two of the event's 17 participants.
Still, as is the nature of the Internet, some went on to critique Metcalf anyway. This is, of course, a stance that completely undermines how improbable his efforts truly were.
Not only did he have just a few months to train for the event, but he was also considered too 'oversized' to be competitive.
Listed by the Seahawks at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Metcalf is admittedly far off from the ideal build of an Olympic sprinter. So much so that it's hard to wrap one's head around the idea of someone that size accomplishing the feat he did Sunday afternoon. While it's unclear where his weight was exactly at heading into the sprint, he appeared every bit as 'built' as he's been through his first two years in the NFL.
At his height, he'd likely need to cut about 30-40 pounds while maintaining his lean muscle to achieve more of a 'sprinter's body.' For reference: Jamaica's Usain Bolt, who measures in at 6-foot-5, set the 100-meter world record of 9.58 seconds in the 2009 Berlin World Championships at 207 pounds.
Getting to that size, however, is not going to happen—not as long as Metcalf remains committed to football, which he reaffirmed on the Peacock broadcast following the sprint.
"I've got minicamp to go to."
It's unlikely this is the last we've seen of Metcalf on the track though, because defying expectations at his Hulk-like size is nothing new to him.
The world was first introduced to his gifts after he generated top-10 pick buzz at the 2019 NFL combine with an extraordinary 4.33 40-yard dash time. Then, after falling to the last pick of the second round due to poor three-cone and 20-yard shuttle testing, he's gone on to put up 2,203 yards and 17 touchdowns with Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors through his first two years with the Seahawks.
Now, his athletic achievements go beyond the gridiron. Despite the 15th-place finish on Sunday, Metcalf should be more than proud of what he was able to accomplish given all the odds stacked against him. Very few people in his position would have been able to put forth a respectable effort, let alone an impressive one at that. By most accounts, the football star was far better than anyone could have imagined.
As Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon - who was on the call for the event - noted following Metcalf's performance, the Seahawks receiver "did not embarrass himself." In fact, it was the furthest thing from an embarrassment.
But it was still a humbling experience for him, recognizing the difference between his craft and that of his fellow competitors.
"They do this for a living. This is very different from football speed."