SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

DK Metcalf hopes to gain right kind of attention learning, using ASL

Dec 8, 2023, 10:07 AM

Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf...

DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks runs a play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 10, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Back in the summer, long before it became a way to quietly send a message, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf decided he wanted to learn more about a class on American Sign Language he took in college.

K.J. Wright: How struggling Seattle Seahawks can shake things up vs 49ers

He saw it as a hobby to do away from the field that would teach him something new.

Metcalf didn’t intend on it becoming a method to express himself on the field without getting in trouble.

“I always try to exercise my mind or try to learn something new,” Metcalf said. “In the past I was taking acting classes, now I figured let’s take it a step further.”

Metcalf’s path learning ASL came to light after he scored the first of his three touchdown catches last week in Seattle’s 41-35 loss to Dallas. Following the 73-yard touchdown catch-and-run, Metcalf signed the phrase, “Standing on business,” which quickly caught the attention of everyone watching the Thursday night game.

The sign was first shown to Metcalf by teammate Boye Mafe, who learned ASL when he was younger and has picked up using it again as a way for the duo to communicate around the Seahawks facility and practice their skills.

“I’m starting to remember a lot of things. It’s like riding a bike. You start like, ‘Oh, I remember this.’” Mafe said. “He’s reminded me of a couple of things I almost forgot myself.”

Metcalf first got a taste of ASL when he was in college at Ole Miss and this summer decided he wanted to learn even more with the goal of becoming fluent.

His agency was able to connect Metcalf with Darrell Utley, a sign language instructor based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The pair meet once a week over Zoom for about an hour each time.

Metcalf said even though he’d taken the class in college he was essentially, “starting back at square one.”

“It was like one, two, or three signs that I kind of knew but mainly starting back from square one,” he said.

Metcalf has picked up using ASL quickly despite learning in a virtual setting. Utley is deaf so the conversations they have during their video sessions are all done via ASL. They’ve had seven sessions so far with many more to come.

Metcalf has saved the recordings of the teaching sessions on his phone — which he’s happy to show others — and will go back and rewatch them during slow times of the week or spend a few minutes watching when Seattle is flying to a game.

“It’s just been very fun just to see him smiling every time we interact, or anytime I know something that he’s signs to me I can see just his smile light up,” Metcalf said. “I think it’s just great that I get to learn something new, I get to challenge myself to learn something new, and also just to bring light to a community who I didn’t know felt unseen or felt like they were being forgot about.”

As for what signs he might use in the future on the field, Metcalf said he wants to be spontaneous. While “Standing on business,” was planned, he wants anything else to be organic — and preferably after he finds the end zone.

He also hopes to meet Utley in person, soon. The Seahawks play at Tennessee on Dec. 24.

“I think it demonstrates a diverse way of communicating and looking at the world and knowing how everybody is so prone to be captured in what you express,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s a new way. I think it’s very innovative, until people start studying up and wondering what the heck he’s saying.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Bumpus: How Seattle Seahawks should use Bryant over Adams
Huard: ‘Heat is on everybody’ to get Seattle Seahawks’ defense on track
• Rost: Reality is Seahawks have no choice but to be a playoff team
• Bumpus: How DK Metcalf had big game for Seahawks in Dallas
• Seahawks’ third straight loss brings playoff hopes into question
• Huard: Seahawks’ defense ‘on its heels’ and has ‘significant’ issues

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald 2024 rookie minicamp...

Cameron Van Til

Why Bump likes Seahawks’ decision to conduct joint practices

The Seattle Seahawks are conducting joint practices this August for the first time since 1991. Michael Bumpus explains why he likes the move.

23 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks OL Christian Haynes...

Zac Hereth

The biggest position battle on the Seahawks’ O-line

Former Seattle Seahawks OL Ray Roberts explains why he sees right guard as the biggest position battle on Seattle's offensive line.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks HC Mike Macdonald...

Zac Hereth

Bump: The great decision Seahawks’ Mike Macdonald made

Former Seattle Seahawks WR Michael Bumpus explains why Mike Macdonald's decision to cancel the final day of minicamp was a good one.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Zach Charbonnet Cardinals 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Seahawks RB: New OC Grubb ‘opening it up’ on offense

Seattle Seahawks second-year running back Zach Charbonnet joined Wyman and Bob to discuss new OC Ryan Grubb's offense and his rookie season.

3 days ago

Brock Huard Madden NFL 25...

Brent Stecker

Seattle Sports’ Brock Huard added as Madden NFL 25 announcer

Seattle Sports' own Brock Huard will be one of six announcers in Madden NFL 25, the latest edition of the annual football video game.

5 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Cameron Van Til

Seahawks takeaways: What stands out after minicamp

Here are six takeaways following the Seattle Seahawks' mandatory minicamp, which marked the conclusion of their spring offseason program.

6 days ago

DK Metcalf hopes to gain right kind of attention learning, using ASL