DK Metcalf’s decision to run a 100-meter dash a week ago not only might cause more football players to test their track prowess, it also compelled Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to engage in a little competition with some of his grandchildren.
Carroll said he and his family gathered around an iPad to watch Metcalf take part last Sunday in the USA Track and Field Golden Games meet at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. Metcalf ran a 10.37, which was off the time of 10.2 seconds he needed to qualify for the Olympic Trials but was better than many anticipated for a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder whose real job is playing football, and placed him 15th out of 17 in the event.
But the fun for the Carroll family didn’t stop when the race ended.
“Within five minutes the grandkids and I were out there setting up the cones and we’re doing races out in the driveway, you know, just like DK,’’ Carroll said Saturday when he talked to reporters via Zoom following the Seahawks’ second rookie minicamp workout.
While Metcalf’s participation in the event wasn’t known until the week of the event, Carroll said Metcalf “mentioned it to me quite a while back.’’
Carroll had zero reservations, calling it “a marvelous challenge that he took on. … it would take a special person to even think about doing that. I just thought it was like an ultimate competitor looking for a chance to battle.’’
As Carroll noted, it’s obviously not a bad thing to have Metcalf working on his speed throughout the offseason, not that there is ever any question about his commitment to conditioning.
“He couldn’t do more to work on his speed than what he just did,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll was predictably impressed by Metcalf’s time, saying he looked “marvelous’’ and “awesome.’’
He was also impressed by Metcalf’s interview afterward in which Metcalf acknowledged there is a difference between track speed and football speed.
“His vision to see the challenge, go after it, and then pull it off, and then also be very humble and respectful about it,’’ Carroll said. “I was really, really proud of him.’’
Also tuned in was Seattle’s first pick in the 2021 draft, receiver Dee Eskridge, who has a lengthy track background himself.
“He’s gonna set a trend for NFL players to come,’’ Eskridge said. “Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to follow in his footsteps and be able to go out there and do something like he did.’’
Youngsters to practice; veterans welcome
The Seahawks’ schedule after rookie minicamp is clear. The Seahawks on Monday will enter the second phase of their offseason program, which will include virtual meetings with on-field drills with coaches allowed, though with no contact and at what is considered a “coaching’’ pace.
On May 24 starts the third and final phase of the program, which includes 10 schedule OTAs — or Organized Team Activities, full-team workouts that can be conducted at full speed but without contact — and concludes with a three-day minicamp.
Less clear is who will take part.
Only the minicamp, which is set for June 15-17, is mandatory, and the Seahawks are among 21 teams whose veterans have released a statement through the NFLPA saying they do not intend to take part in voluntary on-field workouts due to continuing concerns over COVID-19.
ESPN reported over the weekend that some teams are considering alterations to the program’s schedule to try to accommodate players’ concerns, with some potentially cancelling minicamp and others paring down the schedule.
Carroll was somewhat vague on how the next few weeks will unfold for the Seahawks but said “we’re talking to our guys about what our options are.’’
For next week, Carroll said he anticipates the 31 players who attended rookie minicamp to participate in phase two workouts, along with “whoever else wants to come out to take part.’’
Carroll said all veterans have been taking part in meetings daily during the first phase of the program and that those meetings will continue even if players do not show up for voluntary on-field drills.
“We’re doing great,’’ Carroll said of the participation of veterans in virtual meetings.
Carroll said the team has made clear to veterans they are free to come to the facility and work out, calling the VMAC “an open gym’’ that veterans can use whenever they want regardless of whether they take part in drills.
Carroll said he isn’t worried that players will not say in shape, saying “everybody’s working out (whether at the VMAC or elsewhere). We’re making good progress.’’
But Carroll also held out hope that maybe the stances of some involved will change as things continue to progress with COVID-19 restrictions and players and others getting vaccinated.
“We’ll see what happens as we move forward,’’ Carroll said.
More praise for Darrell Taylor
Among non-rookies taking part this weekend was 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor, who missed all but one week of practice last week and saw no action in games while still recovering from surgery to repair a shin injury suffered in the 2019 season at Tennessee.
Taylor is working at both strongside linebacker and rush end and depending on his progress, could take over for K.J. Wright as the team’s starting strongside linebacker this season.
That Taylor battled the health issues he did last year made it notable that Saturday he was able to take part in everything after also doing so Friday.
And after Saturday’s workout Carroll said so far, so good, with Taylor’s adjustment to playing the SLB spot along with defensive end, which was his listed position last season.
“Just in the first couple days Darrell looks very much the part,” Carroll said. “I know coming off the field today (defensive line coach Clint Hurtt) was really fired up about getting a chance to work him in his pass-rush drills and all. We really haven’t seen much of him. We got one week and we just kind of babied him through his first week we got him out of here, so this is the first couple practices we’ve had. It is really important to the scheme, he does have the kind of makeup that fits it well, so at this point he’s going to get a heck of a shot to show us what he can do there.”
Receivers Johnson, Terry sit out
All but two of the 31 players in rookie minicamp appeared to take part fully in drills Saturday.
The two who did not were receivers Cade Johnson and Tamorrion Terry, each undrafted free agents who each were present but watched from the sidelines. Johnson is from South Dakota State and Terry from Florida State.
Carroll said Johnson is dealing with a groin issue that he indicated did not appear to be serious and that Terry suffered a little bit of a hip pointer when he hit the ground hard during Friday’s practice and the team decided to hold him out Saturday.