Listening to DK Metcalf Tuesday, I heard a faint echo of Muhammad Ali.
“I am the greatest,” the champ once said. “I said that even before I knew I was.”
After impressing the sports world with his aspiration to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track trials as a 100-meter sprinter, and backing it with a 10.36-second time at a meet in California, the Seahawks’ just-turned-23 golden child answered a question about his goal to do many things well.
“Yes sir, it’s just to be one of the greatest humans to walk this planet Earth,” he said. “God says the same thing. So just taking it day by day, holding on to as many different skills as I can.”
He wasn’t nearly as bombastic or loquacious as Ali. But the kid has the necessary audacity.
“To be one of the greatest humans” is not a phrase that tumbles easily from the lips of many. Most of us feel fulfilled when we deftly sidestep the back yard’s dog poop.
But as Seahawks fans and most of the sports world know by now, Metcalf is a different dude. It’s fun just to hang in his wake.
Asked about the now-dead prospect of the Seahawks trading with Atlanta for seven-time All-Pro WR Julio Jones, Metcalf grinned.
“Great player,” he said. “It would have been amazing just to play beside him — me, him and Tyler (Lockett), plus (Chris) Carson in the backfield. We would have been unstoppable.”
Unstoppable. That’s how he is wired.
Since he has agreed to participate in a charity softball game, he was asked which major league baseball player he would compare himself to.
“Hank Aaron,” he said. Like the rest of us, he could have chosen Daniel Vogelbach. But no.
Turning from spring idylls at lakeside during the Seahawks’ organized team activities to matters of football, Metcalf’s early view of Shane Waldron was the other curiosity.
Poached from the Rams, Waldron is the new offensive coordinator charged with eradicating scotchbroom and blackberry vines that took over the Seahawks offense in the second half of the season, helping render irrelevant a 12-4 record.
Metcalf did what he could — 1,303 yards on 83 receptions and 10 touchdowns — but he and the Seahawks coaches had no substantive answers for defensive coordinators who double-teamed his 6-4, 235-pound self. Corrections apparently are underway.
“It’s a new offense,” he said. “A lot of different new things to learn. That’s one reason why we’re here at OTAs, just to get our feet wet with the offense, trying to make as many mistakes as we can early, so during the season, it’s going to be smooth sailing.’’
Asked to describe in one word the changes, he chose “intricate,” which corresponds to the description of many who observed the Rams offense when Waldron worked under LA head coach Sean McVay for four years.
Asked to elaborate, Metcalf said, “That means it’s a lot of different kinds of routes that people haven’t seen from either team that he’s coached. I’m just excited get to work with him. He’s a hungry coach. That’s what I like about him — he’s always trying to learn something new. Not only about the players but about the game.
“Always coming up with new ways to try to get his playmakers the ball.”
Perhaps the newness prompted some of the veterans to show up for these voluntary practices. From the 91-man roster, 76 were reported by seahawks.com to have been in attendance, including captains QB Russell Wilson and LB Bobby Wagner. That’s despite the fact that the Seahawks were among 21 teams whose players signed letters from the union claiming they would sit out any workouts that weren’t mandatory. They wanted to maintain the covid-19 protocols from a year ago.
Apparently, the diminishing threat of infections has amped up the urgency to attend practice in person instead of Zoom.
“I know the vets and the leaders of the team had a long conversation and they decided that we should come back,” Metcalf said. “We all showed up as a team — with the few along the way who are coming later this week.
“Our vets handled the situation very, very carefully. I think they made the correct decision.’’
The shrewdest part of the move probably was to thwart further Metcalf ambitions. Fun as it would have been, none of the players and coaches wanted to turn on the TV and see Metcalf in the NBA playoffs.