What DK Metcalf Epic Chase Down of Budda Baker Says About His Olympic Chances

The NFL season is still four months away, but Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf will be back at work by the end of the week. Football, however, won't be top of his agenda on Sunday, when the 23-year-old is going to attempt to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

Last season, Metcalf became an internet sensation when he sprinted over 100 yards to chase down Budda Baker and deny the Arizona Cardinals safety what looked to be a certain pick six. Following his exploit, USA Track and Field invited the Seahawks wideout to test himself against "real speed."

For everyone asking if we have a spot open on our relay team for @dkm14, @NFL players are welcome to come test their speed against real speed next year at the Olympic Trials. https://t.co/uSf2QVIf4j

— USATF (@usatf) October 26, 2020

The tweet may have been in tongue-in-cheek but Metcalf took it very seriously and will line up with another 16 Olympic Trials hopefuls at the USATF Golden Games and Distance Open in Walnut, California, on Sunday.

"DK's agent told us that he really wants to try to make the Olympics and asked what steps he needs to take," USATF Managing Director of Events Adam Schmenk was quoted as saying by Yahoo Sports.

"We walked him through what the auto qualifying time was that he would have to run in a sanctioned USATF event and told him that we would help him find a lane if and when he wanted to do this."

A second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Metcalf stood out even before his NFL career began due to his extraordinary athletic qualities.

His 6'4, 228-pound frame caught the eye at the 2019 NFL Combine, in which he ranked first among wide receivers in the bench press drill, third in the vertical jump drill and fourth in the 40-yard dash, which he ran in 4.33 seconds.

As per NFL Media data, the time was the fastest ever recorded by a player 225 pounds or heavier, not just among wide receivers but among NFL players as a whole.

Extrapolated over 100 meters, Metcalf's 40-yard time would see him clock a time of 11.83 seconds. To put the figure into context, the qualifying time for the Olympic Trials in 2012 stood at 10.28 seconds and at 10.16 seconds four years later.

According to World Athletics, the threshold time this year stands at 10.05 seconds with a legal tailwind not exceeding two meters per second. Eight Americans have already booked a ticket for the Olympic Trials by virtue of running the time during the 2021 outdoor season.

Data from NextGen Stats showed Metcalf reached a top speed of 22.6 miles per hour and traveled 114.8 yards as he chased down Baker. By comparison, Usain Bolt averaged 23.3 miles per hour when he set the 100-meter world record with a time of 9:58 at the 2009 World Championships.

D.K. Metcalf reached 22.64 MPH and traveled 114.8 yards to chase down Budda Baker on his 90-yard interception return (Baker's top speed: 21.27 MPH).

This was the 2nd-fastest speed reached on a tackle this season.#SEAvsARI | #Seahawks | #RedSea pic.twitter.com/nyX0Y16LQz

— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 26, 2020

In two seasons in the NFL, Metcalf has averaged 70.5 catches, 1,101.5 receiving yards and 8.5 touchdowns, but he's no stranger to the running track. During his days at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mississippi, he was part of the 4x100-meter relay team and competed in the 110 meter hurdles and triple jump.

Metcalf isn't the first athlete to swap football cleats for track spikes either. In 1983, former NFL wide receiver Willie Gault was part of the 4x100-meter relay team that won the gold medal at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

Gault also won the bronze medal in the 110 meter hurdles just months after being selected with the 18th overall pick of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

Nine years later, former Seahawks kick returner Michael Bates won a Bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and former University of Florida running back Jeff Demps was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team at the 2012 London Olympics, winning a silver medal—Demps ran in the preliminary heat but sat out the final.

Less than a week after the closing ceremony of the Games, Demps, who had gone undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, signed with the New England Patriots.

Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf
DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 30, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images