The play was one of the most jaw-dropping of the NFL season.
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker had just intercepted a Russell Wilson pass in an October game and appeared headed untouched for a nearly 100-yard pick six. But DK Metcalf, the Seattle Seahawks' 6-foot-4, 229-pound wide receiver clicked into warp speed and caught Baker from behind, displaying the critical difference between Baker's 40-yard-dash time of 4.44 seconds and Metcalf's 4.33.
Among those who reacted to the display of blazing speed was USA Track and Field, which offered up a tweet that was part taunt and part invitation: "For everyone asking if we have a spot open on our relay team for @dkm14, NFL players are welcome to come test their speed against real speed next year at the Olympic Trials."
It turns out that Metcalf, who hasn't run track since his high school days in Oxford, Miss., is willing to take up the offer. After the play, his agent reached out to USATF, and on Sunday the 23-year-old will run in the 100 meters at the USATF Golden Games and Distance Open in Walnut, Calif.
"DK's agent told us that he really wants to try to make the Olympics and asked what steps he needs to take," Adam Schmenk, the managing director of events and entertainment properties for USATF, told Yahoo Sports. "We walked him through what the auto qualifying time was that he would have to run in a sanctioned USATF event and told him that we would help him find a lane if and when he wanted to do this."
Metcalf will the longest of long shots to make the Olympics. To qualify for the Olympic trials, Metcalf, who was a hurdler rather than an outright sprinter in high school, would need to run 10.05 seconds with a legal tail wind of no more than two meters per second. Eight American runners have run that time so far during the outdoor season, according to World Athletics.
During the NFL combine in 2019, Metcalf drew attention by running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash and during his rundown of Baker, he was clocked at 22.64 mph. According to Next Gen Stats, that was the fourth-fastest time of any NFL player last season. He also covered 108.8 yards on the play, the most traveled on a tackle from scrimmage. Not bad for a second-round draft pick who relishes a challenge, whether it's in the NFL or track.
“I wasn’t supposed to go in the first round for a reason, probably because I wasn’t going to work as hard if I got drafted in the first round or early in the second round,” Metcalf told The Washington Post’ in November. “It allowed me to come in here with a chip on my shoulder and just to realize what it felt like to be an underdog in the NFL. I don’t think it would have affected my approach to the game but probably my approach to life. I probably would have taken this opportunity for granted. It was just a blessing in disguise. God put me in this position. He made me wait until the 64th pick, just to be placed in this organization.”