When DK Metcalf joined the Seahawks as the No. 64 pick in the 2019 draft, he came to Seattle with a substantial chip on his shoulder.
Metcalf was projected to be a first-round pick, perhaps even a Top-10 pick, but concerns over a neck injury suffered in college caused him to fall in the draft until the Seahawks, pleasantly surprised he was still available at the end of the second round, pulled the trigger on a trade to bring Metcalf to Seattle.
Over the past three seasons, Metcalf has made the Seahawks look really good for that decision while making plenty of other NFL teams regret not taking a chance on him. In three seasons, Metcalf has established himself as one of the best young receivers in the game, a player who has earned Pro-Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors, and who broke Steve Largent's single-season receiving record in 2020 and who has more receiving yards through three seasons than any other player in team history.
And on Friday Metcalf and the Seahawks made it official that he'll stay a Seahawk for years to come, with Metcalf signing a multi-year contract extension.
"Just coming from Oxford, Mississippi, all the way over here to Seattle is a long journey," Metcalf said while flanked by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. "I'm about to get emotional so bear with me. It really hasn't hit me until now that I'll have the opportunity just to help so many people back home and help my family. And just thinking about when I broke my neck and I was told I wasn't going to be able to play football again, and now just this moment happening, it's just all a blessing. All my teachers and coaches from middle school, high school, my college coaches, college teammates—A.J. Brown, Elijah Moore, Demarcus Gregory, then when I get here, and I meet guys like Russ (Wilson), Bobby (Wagner), Duane Brown, Tyler Lockett, Quandre Diggs, Al Woods, Freddie Swain. They pushed me and make it exciting just to come to work."
Metcalf went onto thank the people behind the scenes who have helped him succeed, including the equipment staff, athletic trainers and kitchen staff, saying, "It's just all a blessing, all amazing. I just thank everybody, because it took a village just for me to get here today. Just a big thank you to everybody who helped me get to this point in my life."
While it took a little time to get this extension done, with Metcalf sitting out the first two practices of training camp, he never doubted the two sides would get a deal done.
"Something was going to get done," he said. "It was going to be here. As much as I bluffed to John (Schneider), I wanted to be here, and I wanted to play here. I'm just glad that we got something done."
And even though he's now one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers and has established himself as one of the game's bright young stars, that chip on his shoulder will remain as large as it was when he sat through two full rounds of the draft before getting the call from Seattle.
"I'm still not done, and that chip hasn't gone anywhere," he said. "… My goal is to make it to the Hall of Fame, so I'm still not done."
While the Hall of Fame is still a distant goal for any player heading into his fourth season, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a player who arrived at his first NFL game wearing a Largent jersey might be on his way to big things.
"He's the GOAT receiver in Seattle, so I'm trying to be just like him," Metcalf said of his pregame outfit following his Seahawks debut in 2019.
Metcalf hasn't had the career of Largent just yet—a Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor resume takes time to build—but to those who have been around him for the past three seasons, no level of success is surprising.
"This young man is a cutting-edge performer in all ways," Carroll said. "The way he applies himself, his expectations, the way he's willing to work, and there is nothing that he's not willing to do to get to the best of his abilities and potential. But it's not just about football and it's not just about sports, it's about how he attacks everything that he's going for. This is a cutting-edge performer in a time that he is an international star on the rise because he is so just so attuned for doing all that it takes to be that kind of performer, and I'm so thrilled that you are with us, that you're doing it, and we get to do it together. It's just very fortunate to see it, but it is for our fans too, this is really something. When you look at the NFL, we go to the league meetings and they show all of the players and they flash the shots. Whenever they flash this guy, he is exactly, exactly what you hope and dream what an NFL ballplayer would be. I love it because he is so much more than that, so you guys will all learn as we go as he gets more chances to visit with you and all of that. What a tremendous young man this is."
Said Schneider, "It's a huge day for the Seattle Seahawks' future. It's a big deal for DK as well. It's cool to see everybody in the building coming out and celebrating today. We are all very excited for DK, for his teammates, and for the organization moving forward here. Before we get too far, I wanted to thank Jody Allen for providing us this opportunity to do what we are doing here today and it's a great thing. I also want to thank DK's agent, Tory Dandy, Jay Nienkark, and Matt Thomas upstairs. It's a long process, the planning process started in Indy and it took a while… As soon as you walked in the building, everybody knew you were part of our family."
Keeping Metcalf for the foreseeable future was important first-and-foremost because he's a great, young player and NFL team's don't like to be in the business of losing great, young players. But this contract is also significant for the message it sends to the rest of the team and to fans at a time when the team is going through a transition after parting away with a pair of franchise icons in the offseason in Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
"This is such an exciting day for the 12s to know that DK is going to be here and be a part of this thing," Carroll said. "And we feel it throughout the organization, in the locker room, everybody. We know. We made a little announcement today, and the guys were cheering for him in this room. Everybody cares, and it makes a big difference. The momentum that you feel from a leader like this coming back to your club, knowing he's excited about it and thrilled to be here, it just adds to all of the energy of the group, so it is really important."
Schneider too saw a lot of significance in being able to retain a player and person of Metcalf's caliber.
"Right when he walked in the door, the way he treated everybody—EK (director of equipment Erik Kennedy) and his staff that he mentioned, Mo (Kelly, vice president of player engagement) and everybody in the kitchen and the video guys and the coaches and the way he handled himself," Schneider said. "This is a very cool culture here and I think you saw some of that yesterday. It's special and you know it's hard when people leave and there's a reason it's harder on everybody. There's a lot of great people in this building. We knew he was a guy that was going to be here and that we had to have here for a long time in order for us to provide for the 12s and a championship team."
Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider talk with the Seattle media following the wide receivers signing a contract extension with the club.