Seattle Seahawks

‘Wolverine’ DK Metcalf thinks he’s playing in Seahawks’ opener 19 days after knee surgery

Rookie DK Metcalf on his Seahawks debut in preseason opener, how far he’s come since October neck injury at Ole Miss

Rookie DK Metcalf on his Seahawks debut in preseason opener, how far he’s come since October neck injury at Ole Miss
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Rookie DK Metcalf on his Seahawks debut in preseason opener, how far he’s come since October neck injury at Ole Miss

DK Metcalf took a long, post-practice stroll from one end of the Seahawks’ field complex to the other, talking intently to Pete Carroll.

Then the hulking wide receiver continued into team headquarters. But not to the locker room, where more than 80 of his teammates were going following the final practice of the preseason. The rookie wide receiver was going onto the Seahawks’ indoor, turf field Wednesday afternoon.

“He’s running today, right now. He’s out there running on the turf doing it,” Carroll said a few minutes after his talk with Metcalf.

Eight days earlier, Metcalf had knee surgery.

Yet another wowing moment from the second-round draft choice who seems to possess supernatural powers.

At least that’s what Metcalf tells Carroll.

“He’s referred to himself as Wolverine,” the coach said.

Not the animal. Not Michigan’s mascot.

The X-Men and Avengers superhero.

“The mutant with unstoppable healing power,” as Marvel Comics describes it.

So that settles it. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Metcalf who runs a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, who was purported to have body fat of 1.9 percent this winter (he said it’s more like 4 percent), is superhuman.

Having knee surgery Aug. 20 isn’t going to prevent him from playing in the Seahawks’ season opener 19 days later, Sept. 8 against Cincinnati.

Is it?

“I guess we’ll wait and see how he does,” Carroll said. “I want to and he wants to. ...

“He’s going to bounce back. Maybe he can pull that off. ...We’ll see what happens. It’s really just an assessment every day.

“He really feels pretty comfortable right now. He doesn’t have any swelling and all that. So he doesn’t have a hindrance that could’ve shown up. It just depends on how he tolerates it.”

If it follows how Metcalf has tolerated everything else thrown at him since Seattle traded up to the end of the second round to get the national pre-draft phenomenon in April, he’ll be playing from week one. Before the surgery, Metcalf was on track to be the starting split end and number-two receiver for Russell Wilson in Seattle’s offense, behind Tyler Lockett.

Each time Carroll—or pretty much anyone who has seen Metcalf on a Seahawks practice field, weight room or training room—talks about him, superlatives flow. Wilson has likened Metcalf’s competiveness and trash-talking in workouts to that of LeBron James.

Franchise quarterback Russell Wilson raves about hulking rookie DK Metcalf, other Seahawks receivers on day two of the team’s minicamp.

Yes, Carroll is as sunny as Moses Lake in August. But the 67-year-old coach talks about his 21-year-old marvel—or, as Metcalf would call it, Marvel—in a way unlike Carroll does for any other player.

Especially one who has yet to play his first NFL game.

So, yes, the 67-year-old coach is almost expecting the improbable from Metcalf: the 21-year-old playing in Seattle’s opener less than three weeks after knee surgery.

“He’s remarkable. Really,” Carroll said, for maybe the 32nd time this spring and summer.

“He’s a very mature kid, very clear about the challenge of it. Very clear about his intentions, expectations. He’s counting on playing. He’s not even thinking about anything else. His mentality is excellent. It’s really excellent. As good as it can be for a young kid.

“He just continues to kind of surprise us. In all ways. I just spent some time with him coming off the field today. I had some questions for him about some other things.”

Carroll was talking to Metcalf Wednesday not about football or the knee, but about his hometown and growing up.

Metcalf was born and raised in Oxford, Miss. He’s the son of Terrence Metcalf, an offensive lineman who played 78 games for the Chicago Bears from 2002-08. As detailed by his hometown Oxford Clarion Ledger in 2015, DeKaylin, the wide receiver’s given name, was at Solider Field and then an 9-year-old inside the home-team locker room in January 2007 when his dad’s Bears won the NFC championship game and advanced to Super Bowl 41.

DK Metcalf eventually signed to play college football for his hometown University of Mississippi. His career there of overwhelming physically inferior defensive backs with his size and speed ended last October with a neck injury. He was in a brace in a hospital bed, hearing some people say he’d never play football again.

So this relatively minor knee surgery?

In Wolverine’s mind, he’s playin’,

“He’s just an impressive kid,” Carroll said. “Good background. He’s strong. He knows what he wants to do. All of that really bodes well for a guy.

“He’s not thinking that he’s not coming back. He’s thinking that he’s coming back to play.”

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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