Russell Wilson uncorked a deep pass, DK Metcalf leapt into the air to secure a long reception, and the fans at Seahawks training camp went crazy.
Another day, another chance for the DK Metcalf hype to build more momentum. But for as much excitement as there has been surrounding the second-round pick out of Ole Miss, Metcalf is doing everything he can to, in the parlance of his quarterback, ignore the noise.
"I don't pay attention to it," Metcalf said. "I just come out here and just continue to work every day."
Metcalf, who became a social media sensation last winter thanks to a shirtless weight room photo that went viral, and whose profile only got bigger when he ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, admits that it isn't always easy to tune out all of the hype, but says, "I was a nobody at one point in my life so I just have to keep the same mentality."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who famously took off his shirt after Metcalf came into his combine interview shirtless as a joke, sarcastically noted that Metcalf, "Is still trying to live down that time when he took his shirt off in the meeting. He hasn't really been able to come back from that yet. I feel like he is coming out of the intimidated stage. He should be alright."
But Carroll and his coaching staff do know it can be a challenge for young players who arrive with a big spotlight on them to handle the transition to the NFL. And so far Metcalf has been earning positive reviews for the way he has handled himself both on and off the field.
"He's an extraordinary athlete and what a tremendous addition to our club," Carroll said. "… He has had the opportunity to make really good impressions in the offseason with us and I know working with Russ [Wilson] and the fellas through the summertime, he was just on point. We are really excited about him and how he has the chance to contribute."
In addition to his coaches and teammates, Metcalf can also lean on his father during this transition to the league. Terrance Metcalf, a former NFL guard who played seven seasons for the Chicago Bears, has been a regular at training camp.
The elder Metcalf's advice to his son?
"Just continue to work each day," DK Metcalf said. "It doesn't matter if you're a first string or the third string, just continue to work."
As impressive as Metcalf has been, he plays a position that can be challenging for rookies making the transition from college to the NFL, and the Seahawks have a lot of talented receivers competing with him for playing time, so nothing is a given this season. But while he'll continue to try to tune out the hype, that doesn't mean he isn't expecting big things from himself.
"I always expect highly of myself because I don't want to set my goal too low, so I always have something to reach for," he said. "I'm always going to shoot for the stars."
In pursuing his own lofty expectations, Metcalf has impressed his teammates and coaches with his work ethic as much as with the physical traits that helped make him a Twitter sensation. The week before a large contingent of Seahawks receivers, tight ends and running backs all got together in Southern California for summer workouts organized by Wilson, Metcalf was in L.A. and taking part in 5:45 a.m. workouts with Wilson at UCLA.
"We put the work in early in the mornings and just got some extra work in," Wilson said. "That was great. I think it's important to make sure you spend that time with certain guys and try to build those one-on-one relationships. DK, being the guy that he is and the position he got drafted in, there's a lot of high expectations on him, and letting him know that 'hey, we are here to do everything we can to make you the best player you could possibly be.' The great thing is, he makes it easy on us because he wants to put the work in. The rest of the guys too, they were all ready to roll and ready to come down to California and get the work in too."
Photos from the fourth open practice of Seahawks 2019 training camp, presented by Safeway held on Monday, July 29 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.