Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf makes a catch during practice on July 31, 2021, in Renton. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf makes a catch during practice on July 31, 2021, in Renton. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Metcalf ready to feast for Seahawks in 2021

After a breakout season last year, the young WR is ‘hungry’ to add to his growing accomplishments.

By Matt Calkins / The Seattle Times

RENTON — The physical exploits of DK Metcalf have been fan and media fodder since the Seattle Seahawks drafted him two years ago.

There was his shirtless pic displaying a physique with 3.8% body fat in 2019. There was the rundown of Budda Baker off an interception in Arizona in 2020. And there was the 10.37 100-meter dash he posted last May, an astounding time for a man of his build and relative track and field inexperience.

But Monday, we wanted to know about that not-so-impressive athletic endeavor.

“What happened at the softball game?” asked the day’s sacrificial scribe.

“I swore I wasn’t going to answer no questions about no softball,” said a smiling Metcalf, drawing laughs. “No, I was trying to kill it, though. I went out there, I wanted to hit a home run.”

Homer he did not. Playing in the celebrity slowpitch softball game during the MLB All-Star festivities last month, Metcalf went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. He swung with enough force to bust open a steel pinata, but hit nothing but nitrogen and oxygen.

If you’re looking for a metaphor, though, you can say that Metcalf’s contactless cut reflected his aspirations for the upcoming football season. A mere single won’t do it for him — he wants to knock his third year in the NFL out of the park.

Some might say he did that with his second year considering he logged 1,303 receiving yards, breaking Steve Largent’s 35-year single-season Seahawks record. His success earned him a Pro Bowl nod, national acclaim, and league-wide intrigue as to what he might do next.

Seems Metcalf is keen on finding out the same thing. Monday, when a reporter tried to ask what was different about the Seahawks’ offensive scheme this year compared to last year, Metcalf thought it was a question about what’s different about him this year compared to last year.

“Hungry,” Metcalf said before the clarification. “Oh, scheme-wise. Still hungry.”

“Is there something you want to do this year that you didn’t do last year?” followed a reporter.

“Be better than last year,” Metcalf said. “That’s always the goal.”

Metcalf didn’t offer further details. Asked if there were specific statistical aspirations, he said, “You know I don’t throw out numbers.”

He did express excitement about getting to play 17 games, though.

“So, 17 more games to where we can score a lot of touchdowns.”

The number of touchdowns might largely depend on the aforementioned scheme. Remember, it was Metcalf who first commented publicly about the Seahawks’ predictability on offense last season, telling former Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall in January that “teams just started to figure us out.” This ostensibly led to Shane Waldron replacing Brian Schottenheimer as the team’s new offensive coordinator, which has led to an increased tempo, which led to optimism typical of training camp — but optimism nonetheless.

“We’re picking up the tempo on the offense pretty well,” Metcalf said. “It causes us to study our playbook and really know every position on the field. I think it’s going to help us in the long run to where teams can’t get a handle on what we’re doing.”

Seattle running back Chris Carson spoke similarly of the new offense last week. Though he downplayed the word “predictable” as an appropriate adjective for last year’s “O,” he did note the team’s lack of adaptability. What has stood out to Carson so far is that the defense doesn’t seem to know what’s coming. Whether that will remain the case when they take on players who aren’t their teammates remains to be seen.

This past offseason was, let’s say … colorful for the Seahawks. It started with coach Pete Carroll emphasizing that he wants to run the ball more. It continued with quarterback Russell Wilson complaining about being hit too much, which prompted trade rumors. It has included key acquisitions such as offensive lineman Gabe Jackson and tight end Gerald Everett.

And, of course, there were Metcalf’s contrasting undertakings on the track and softball field.

The man has near peerless ability. He’s demonstrated the will to go big, too.

He might not want to throw out numbers, but if he puts it all together, millions will be aware of what those numbers are.

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