Last Sunday, Pete Carroll found himself in his driveway setting up cones so his grandchildren could race each other.
Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf, who earlier that day showed that he could hang with some of the top sprinters in the country when he ran the 100-yard dash in the USA Track & Field Golden Games.
"The whole family was sitting around watching it on the iPad; we were all huddled around just to see what was going to happen, would he be able to pull it off?" Carroll said following Saturday's rookie minicamp practice. "We're cheering for him, and within five minutes the grandkids and I were out there setting up the cones and we were doing races out in the driveway, just like DK."
Metcalf finished ninth in his heat, but he still held his own, finishing in 10.36 seconds, a particularly impressive feat considering how much more weight Metcalf carries than a typical sprinter, and also that he hasn't competed in track and field since high school.
And while some coaches might frown upon a player dabbling in another sport in the offseason, Carroll saw it as a sign of Metcalf's competitiveness.
"I thought it was a marvelous challenge that he took on," Carroll said. "DK is a very special individual, and it would take a special person to even think about doing that, even consider the thought of doing that. Right from the first moment I heard about—he mentioned it to me quite a while back—I just thought it was like an ultimate competitor looking for a chance to battle where had an opportunity. It's so unusual to even think about it, but to go through the process, workout in preparation that he knew was going to be important for him—speed is important to his whole makeup of his play. He couldn't do more to work on his speed than what he just did. So I saw it as a competition, a competitive guy went after it, figured out how to pull it all together. And then he gets there, and he looks marvelous, I mean he looked awesome."
As impressive as Metcalf's performance was, Carroll was equally impressed with how Metcalf handled the whole situation, both in having the confidence to put himself out there but also the respect he showed for the sprinters he was competing against. As Metcalf told NBC after his heat: "These are world-class athletes, they do this for a living, and it's very different from football speed from what I just realized."
"The way he handled it with grace and respect for those marvelous athletes that he competed against, and his ability to hold up his end of it—shoot he's in the pack there, and that's the first time he's ever finished a 100 in a competitive situation like that ever," Carroll said. "You give him a couple tries, he might be a little bit better. 10.36 is a great time, he was right there with them. But most of all I think it's his vision to see the challenge, go after it, and then pull it off, and then also be very humble and respectful about it. So I was really, really proud of him."