As DK Metcalf made the rounds at the Super Bowl’s radio row in Miami, he knew — he just knew — one particular request was coming.

Five times on Friday he was asked to take his shirt off.

“That’s still the ongoing joke,” he said.

It’s been almost a year since a picture of a shirtless Metcalf went viral, when his abs became the most talked about abs in the history of the NFL. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll then famously took off his shirt to greet a shirtless Metcalf at the NFL combine last winter.

Metcalf, at 6-feet-4 and 229 pounds and with 4.33-second straight-line speed, certainly looked the part of a future star in the NFL. But not everyone was convinced he could play the part, which is why he fell to the end of the NFL draft’s second round, where the Seahawks traded up to take him.

And, boy, aren’t they glad they did?

Metcalf looked and played the part of a budding superstar as a rookie, quickly emerging as Seattle’s No. 2 receiver and posting 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 regular-season games. A few weeks after his 22nd birthday, he set an NFL rookie playoff record with 160 yards receiving in the Seahawks’ first-round playoff victory at Philadelphia.

“Just showing everyone what I already knew I could do,” Metcalf said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. He is in Miami this week to promote his work with Panini NFL trading cards. On Friday, he was among a group of NFL players to participate in a skills camp for kids hosted by Panini.

Advertising

Reflecting on his rookie season, Metcalf said he was most proud that he was able to play in all 18 games, a year after a cervical neck fracture at Ole Miss in October 2018 ended his college career and threatened to prematurely end his football career, period.

“Just going out there and playing every game and being able to play as many snaps as I needed to, knowing I had the injury history in college,” he said.

“It’s a mountain I’m still climbing,” he added. “I haven’t reached the peak, and that peak is still 10, 15 years from now. But I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, because I know football can be taken away from you at any point in time. Ever since the neck injury, each moment I have with football — being in the weight room, being around my teammates — I just try to enjoy as much as I can. And I want to give back as much as I can.”

He doesn’t view the Seahawks’ playoff exit in Green Bay as a disappointment. Instead, he heads into the offseason focusing on the positives from his rookie season.

He said will take a “long break” to start offseason — “to get my body right again” — before resuming workouts in his hometown of Oxford, Miss.

It’s a mountain I’m still climbing. I haven’t reached the peak, and that peak is still 10, 15 years from now.

Metcalf said he isn’t sticking around Miami to attend Sunday’s Super Bowl between San Francisco and Kansas City. He’s been to one Super Bowl in his life; he was 9 years old at Super Bowl XLI between Indianapolis and Chicago, when his father, Terrance, was an offensive lineman for the Bears. 

Metcalf doesn’t plan to go back to a Super Bowl until helping the Seahawks get there again.

“That’s the goal,” he said.