Caroline Pineda

Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf could be latest NFL player with potential Olympic bid

DK Metcalf
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Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf turned heads with displays of speed on the gridiron. On Sunday, he’ll trade his helmet and pads for track spikes and run for a chance at the Olympic Trials.

Metcalf is set to race in the 100m in this weekend’s USATF Golden Games and Distance Open at Mt. SAC in Walnut, California. NBC, and the NBC Sports app air live coverage on Sunday from 4:30-6 p.m. ET. Peacock streams live coverage from 3:15-6 p.m. ET and coverage airs from 2-4:30 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET onwards.

Metcalf ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Combine, but it would be a significant feat to qualify for the Olympic Trials. It’s not easy to estimate Metcalf’s exact chances of making it to the Trials, as his football speed doesn’t account for a block start.

He would automatically qualify for the Trials in June with a 10.05 on Sunday — a lofty task for the wide receiver. Breaking 10.20 seconds, a more realistic mark, would still give him a good chance to qualify.

If Metcalf made it to the Trials in June, it would then be a tall order to make it to Tokyo. But if he did, he would join a cohort of dozens of NFL players to compete at the Olympic Games.

Related: Who are the fastest NFL players in track’s 100m?

Notable Olympians who Competed in the NFL

Bob Hayes

At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, 21-year-old sprinter Bob Hayes won the 100m. Hayes crossed the finish line in 10.06 seconds to tie the world record mark at the time. He then returned to Florida A&M University, where he played football and ran track.

The Cowboys selected Hayes in the 1964 draft, and the receiver went on to play 11 years in Dallas. He is still the only person to have won a Super Bowl and an Olympic gold medal.

Herschel Walker

Walker took a similar route to Metcalf, making an Olympic bid while still an active NFL player. Walker’s path, though, was in bobsled. The University of Georgia running back won the Heisman Trophy in 1982 before starting his NFL career with the Cowboys in 1986. He took seventh in two-man bobsledding in the 1992 Winter Olympics. Walker was set to compete in four-man bobsledding before being replaced two days before the race.

Jim Thorpe

Thorpe won Olympic gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Olympic Games. Thorpe was an acclaimed athlete in multiple sports, including football, and later served as the first president of the National Football League (formerly called the American Professional Football Association).

Nate Ebner

Ebner was a member of the U.S. rugby team at the 2016 Rio Olympics before winning Super Bowl LI with the Patriots just a few months later. Ebner spent eight years — and won three Super Bowls — in New England. He played for the Giants in 2020 and announced Olympic intentions for 2021.

Tommie Smith

Tommie Smith won the 200m at the 1968 Olympics and is best known for his raised fist on the podium after the race. Smith’s winning time of 19.83 seconds marked the first official instance of a sub-20 time in the 200m. Then-Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Walsh invited Smith to a tryout that resulted in Smith playing two games at wide receiver.

Marquise Goodwin

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin competed in the long jump in the 2012 London Olympics after track and football careers at the University of Texas. He later competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials but didn’t make the U.S. team for the Rio Games.

Goodwin, who signed a one-year deal with the Eagles for the 2020 season, opted out due to concerns about COVID-19 and landed in Chicago in April. Before signing with the Bears, he competed in the long jump for the first time since 2016 and recorded one of the best marks in the world so far this year.

Related: Vashti, Randall Cunningham bid for Olympic sibling history may be more likely in 2021.

Other Olympic-NFL Connections

While he never played in an NFL game, nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis was drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in the 12th round in 1984. This was ahead of the Los Angeles Olympics, where Lewis won the 100m, 200m, long jump and anchored the victorious U.S. 4x100m relay team. Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has expressed Olympic ambitions, and easily qualified for Olympic Trials in the 200m in 2012. His best time of 20.14 would have made the Olympic team, but Hill ran at junior nationals and the world junior championships instead of Trials. And 2017 100m world champion Justin Gatlin tried out for multiple NFL teams in 2006 and 2007 while serving a four-year doping ban, including the Texans, Cardinals, Saints and Buccaneers. He never signed a contract, but Jon Gruden nicknamed him “Gold Medal.”

Off the track and on the ice, retired NFL player Vernon Davis – who became a fan of curling before the 2010 Olympics – served as an honorary captain for the U.S. curling team in Vancouver, Sochi and PyeongChang. In 2018, retired Pro Bowlers Jared Allen and Marc Bulger formed a competitive curling team and announced plans to bid for a spot at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

NFL Venues and the Olympics

In addition to athlete overlap, the NFL and the Olympics have trod the same territory when it comes to venues. When the Olympics return to American soil in 2028, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The stadium will first host Super Bowl LVI in 2022. The venue, less than a year old, is the home of the LA Rams and Chargers.

The LA Memorial Coliseum, home to the first and seventh Super Bowls, hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in 1932 and 1984.

The storied Rose Bowl — the site of five Super Bowls — will be used as a soccer venue in 2028. Stanford Stadium, which may also host soccer in 2028, was used for the same purpose in the 1984 Games. It was also the site of Super Bowl XIX in 1985.

When are the Tokyo Olympics: 100 Days until Opening Ceremony

The Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice wants the rules prohibiting athlete demonstrations at the Olympic and Paralympic Games be changed
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The Torch Relay is underway and the Tokyo Olympics are quickly approaching. Wednesday marks 100 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, which will be the first large-scale worldwide sporting event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony on Friday, July 23 will kick off this year’s Olympic Games, which run until Sunday, August 8. Coverage of the Tokyo Olympics can be found across the networks of NBC.

RELATED: Tokyo Olympics: Key dates, events on road to Opening Ceremony

How to watch the Opening Ceremony:

NBC will have comprehensive coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 23. Since Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the United States Eastern time zone, the Opening Ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. in Tokyo, with coverage on NBC set to begin at 6:55 a.m. ET/3:55 a.m. PT. The ceremony will be re-aired at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT for United States viewers who tune in for the primetime broadcast. The Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony will be replayed again overnight.

Ahead of the excitement of the Opening Ceremony, fans can re-live highlights of one of the greatest Olympians in history, with “Michael Phelps: Medals, Memories & More,” a documentary series premiering on Peacock on April 14. Olympic sports documentaries already on Peacock include “In Deep with Ryan Lochte,” “1968,” “Calgary 1988,” “More Than Gold: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics” and “Dream Team.” “My Pursuit: Life, Legacy & Jordan Burroughs,” a documentary on Olympic wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs, is one of the newest additions to the collection.

NBC announced this week that in an Olympic first, Mike Tirico will host primetime coverage outside in Tokyo this summer, anchoring from a fifth-floor deck with a panoramic view of the Tokyo skyline, including the Rainbow Bridge. Tirico hosted daytime coverage from an open-air set on Copacabana Beach in Rio in 2016, but the Tokyo Olympics will mark the first time the NBC Olympics primetime host will anchor outdoors.

Which U.S. athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics?

So far, over 100 athletes have qualified for the United States Olympic team, but that number is expected to reach 500 by the start of the Tokyo Olympics. Alix Klineman and April Ross have already qualified in beach volleyball, and Carissa Moore is one of four surfers already on the U.S. roster. Swimming trials take place from June 13-20 in Omaha, where Katie Ledecky is projected to make the team in up to five events. Track and field trials are scheduled for June 18-27, and Noah Lyles is favored to be a top qualifier in both the men’s 100m and 200m races. Sha’Carri Richardson is likely a favorite in the women’s 100m after clocking an impressive 10.72 performance in Miramar, Florida on April 10. Gymnastics trials, slated for June 24-27, will feature four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.

ON HER TURF: Tokyo Olympics storylines in women’s sports

When are the Tokyo Paralympics?

The Tokyo Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5, and coverage presented by Toyota will air on NBC, NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. Digital platforms and Peacock will present additional coverage. This year marks the first-ever primetime coverage of the Paralympics on NBC.

RELATED: Jessica Long eyes fifth — but not last — Paralympics in Tokyo

What is the time difference between the United States and Japan for Tokyo Olympics?

During the Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo will be 13 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone, 16 ahead of the Pacific Time ZoneAn event that starts at 10:00a local time Monday will be at 9:00p EDT Sunday night. 

What COVID-19 regulations will be in place at the Tokyo Olympics?

The International Olympic Committee and the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics have released a series of playbooks spelling out safety measures for athletes, officials, and broadcasters in Japan. These playbooks are expected to be updated as the situation with the virus evolves between now and the Opening Ceremony on July 23rd 

“For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding,” IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said. “We are providing the main directions at this stage, but naturally don’t have all the final details yet; an update will be published in the spring and may change as necessary even closer to the Games.” 

In March, Tokyo 2020 also announced that overseas spectators will not be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. In a statement, the organizing committee said: “Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas. In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.” 

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