RENTON, Wash. - While football was the primary focus of their offseason workouts, DK Metcalf picked up a new skill during his time hanging out with Russell Wilson.
He learned how to swim.
“He’s always in the pool now, trying to get in the pool and spend time in the water,” said Wilson, who has regularly included swimming in his workout regimen. “I’m like, ‘Easy, don’t stay in there too long.’”
Wilson has a very good reason for wanting Metcalf out of the pool and on the field. After a strong rookie season, the second-year wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks seems poised for a bigger role and a potential breakout season.
Praise has come from all parts of the Seahawks roster for Metcalf’s performance during training camp, only amplifying the hopes that Seattle’s 2019 second-round pick becomes even more of a steal.
“I just love his demeanor of who he is,” Wilson said. “He’s like a little brother to me almost in a way and so it’s pretty cool in that sense.”
Metcalf was very good as a rookie, perhaps exceeding even the most optimistic expectations after he tumbled down draft boards.
Metcalf finished with 58 catches, 900 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season. In five of Seattle’s final eight games, Metcalf had six receptions. The best game of his rookie year came in the playoffs when he had seven catches for 160 yards and a touchdown in a win at Philadelphia.
Metcalf said one of the primary reasons he believes his rookie year was so successful was developing routines based around watching veterans like Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Duane Brown.
“I found myself doing the same thing every week and I didn’t get tired of it,” Metcalf said. “That’s something that’s unique, I think, because I try to adapt everything that I do. But my weekly routine never changed last year. And I think that was kind of weird to me because I didn’t get bored of it. ... I didn’t get tired of coming in and learning new plays or watching the same old plays that we’ve run. I mean, it was just kind of fun just being here.”
What Metcalf’s rookie year showed is the different ways Seattle could potentially use him. Brian Schottenheimer is tasked with trying to find better matchups and better opportunities for Seattle to take advantage of Metcalf’s size and speed.
Schottenheimer is also trying to bring out Metcalf’s voice.
“He’s earned the right to speak up more,” Schottenheimer said. “Our guys on offense respect him and he’s earned that right to call guys out, and try to bring them along. And if the tempo is maybe down in practice he’s earned that right. We need his voice in that regard. That’s how much I respect him as a football player, and as a worker.”
How much of a bigger role Metcalf could have will finally start to be displayed Sunday when the Seahawks open at Atlanta. There have been calls from fans for Seattle to open up the offense and let Wilson be more of a passer, especially earlier in games. Should that happen, Metcalf and teammate Tyler Lockett could each be headed toward 1,000-yard receiving seasons if both stay healthy.
If that does happen, Seattle’s offense might just be potent enough to make it a major contender in the NFC.
“He’s obviously tremendously talented, but I mean this guy is an unbelievable worker. He wants to be great. I mean he wants to be one of the best of all time,” Schottenheimer said. “He doesn’t win every matchup. But when he doesn’t win the matchup, he takes it personally and he doesn’t shy away, he wants to jump back up there.”
NOTES: CB Quinton Dunbar returned to practice Wednesday after missing time last week to attend a funeral. Dunbar had to go through intake testing before being cleared to practice. It’s still unclear whether Dunbar or Tre Flowers will get the start against Atlanta. ... WR John Ursua was signed to the practice squad. Ursua went unclaimed after being released Tuesday to make way for WR Penny Hart on the active roster.