Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf clocked 10.37 seconds in his 100m heat, finishing last in a nine-man field at the USATF Golden Games on Sunday.
“Excited to have the opportunity,” an upbeat Metcalf told Lewis Johnson on Peacock after his first foray into professional track and field. “These are world-class athletes. They do this for a living. It’s very different from football speed, which I just realized.
“I think I did really well for myself.”
NBC Sports analyst Ato Boldon, who predicted Metcalf at his best could run around 10.6, said Metcalf “did a phenomenal job.” A 10.16 would have qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2016.
“Of course [qualifying for Trials] was always my goal,” said Metcalf, who trained for two to three months. “I really do think and thought I really had a good chance to qualify.”
Metcalf did not sound like he planned to chase a Trials qualifier at another spring meet, saying he had a minicamp for which to prepare. Coming into Sunday, a 10.37 ranked 84th in the U.S. this year.
Later in the final, Cravon Gillespie won in 9.96.
News of Metcalf entering the 100m broke Tuesday. Established U.S. sprinters were skeptical that he would be competitive, but respected that he went through with signing up for a meet. Other NFL players have said they had “track speed” but never backed it up by racing from blocks.
“If he wants to run, he can come run,” world 200m champion Noah Lyles said on Saturday. “Be prepared to get your butt kicked. … You’re going against people who train nearly eight months out of the year to run.”
Metcalf didn’t speak publicly about the meet in the lead-up.
“Why not?” Metcalf said after Sunday’s race when asked why he signed up. “Just another way to test my body, to test myself against different athletes besides just doing football training all day.”
Metcalf made his intentions clear last October, after sparking discussion upon clocking a top speed of 22.64 miles per hour while chasing down an interception return, covering 114.8 total yards, according to @nextgenstats on Twitter.
“For everyone asking if we have a spot open on our relay team,” for Metcalf, the USA Track and Field account tweeted, “NFL players are welcome to come test their speed against real speed next year at the Olympic Trials.”
Metcalf quote-tweeted it, saying, “See you there.”
But one has to qualify for Olympic Trials by posting a time at a lead-up meet. In the men’s 100m, a 10.05 automatically qualifies for Trials. After that, USATF adds the next-fastest men to fill the field up to around 32.
It will likely take sub-10 to make the U.S. Olympic team individually in the 100m. To make the relay, it will likely take sub-10.1.
After Usain Bolt‘s retirement in 2017, the U.S. has dominated the 100m and could sweep the podium in Tokyo.
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