After neck injury, Seahawks’ Metcalf not taking career for granted

Jan 9, 2020, 9:56 AM
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf...
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf is thriving just a year after an injury nearly ended is football career. (Getty)

Seahawks rookie receiver DK Metcalf had the best game of his career on the biggest stage he’s played in on Sunday, but just over a year ago, he was told his football career was over.

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That’s crazy to think after the 22-year-old he caught seven passes for 160 yards and a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round of the playoffs.

After totaling 900 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season, it’s easy to see that Metcalf isn’t an ordinary rookie. That’s especially obvious when you see his blend of size, speed and overall athleticism.

Most guys who are six-foot-four and weigh around 230 pounds aren’t as sculpted as he is, and almost none of them run 40-yard dashes in 4.31 seconds.

Watching him play, it’s easy to see he was made for football, but a neck injury almost took that away from him.

Metcalf played at Ole Miss and during his final season in 2018, he sustained the injury while blocking on special teams. It ended his season after just seven games.

The injury was so severe Metcalf was told that he would never play football again.

“The first doctor when I was in the hospital told me that,” told reporters.

Metcalf is from an athletic family, especially when it comes to football. His dad, Terrence Metcalf, played offensive line for the Chicago Bears from 2002 to 2008 and retired in 2010. The younger Metcalf said he was in tears after being told football was out of the picture for his future.

“Heartbreaking,” Metcalf said of his reaction to hearing that from the doctor. “I cried because football was taken away from me at that moment.”

He reached out to other doctors and a week after the initial diagnosis, he met Dr. Kevin Foley, who later performed his surgery.

“He’s done the surgery plenty of times and he told me I was going to be fine,” Metcalf said.

While his initial reaction was somber, Metcalf said the week between his first diagnosis and meeting Foley wasn’t as hard as you’d believe.

“I was just going to focus on getting my degree and finishing school,” he said.

From there, he did rehab and recovery, and then stole the show at the NFL Combine with his athleticism and physical stature. After the workout, he was tabbed by many as a potential first-round pick. Instead, he fell to the final pick of the second round when the Seahawks drafted him.

The video of general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll talking to Metcalf on the phone to let him know Seattle was drafted went viral, as Metcalf was overcome with emotion. Falling to the Seahawks ended up being a blessing for the rookie.

“It was a perfect situation for me,” Metcalf said. “At the moment, I was mad. After everything is said and done, looking back at it, (I’m) just happy that I landed here.

Great quarterback. Great offense. Great team. Organization. We’re in the playoffs. Still playing and a lot of teams are at home. It was a great moment.”

Shortly after he was drafted, his new quarterback, Russell Wilson, called Metcalf to welcome him to the team. Like Metcalf, Wilson fell in the draft and has shown other teams they were wrong in passing on him.

“There was a lot of knocks on him coming out,” Metcalf said of Wilson. “You’ve seen what he’s been molded to right now. Just never count anybody out because you can’t measure somebody’s heart.”

Now, the two are quickly developing into one of the most dangerous tandems in the NFL.

The journey from that initial doctor’s appointment to now has been a whirlwind for Metcalf, but he knows just how lucky he is to be in his situation.

“It shows me to not take anything for granted,” he said. “Not a moment. Not even a practice for granted. Just go out there and give it all I got.”

Follow’s Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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