In one of the most impressive plays of last season, Seattle Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf traveled 114.8 yards to track down Budda Baker after the Arizona Cardinals defensive back intercepted a pass and tried taking it to the house.
Hitting a top speed of 22.64 MPH during the chase, Metcalf caught up to Baker and tackled him just short of the end zone.
“Until that huge stallion of a human came galloping out of nowhere, [it was] phenomenal anticipation by [Baker],” said Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury. “DK Metcalf is an absolutely freak athlete.”
A freak? Sure. But at 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds with 4.33 40-yard-dash speed, Metcalf, who tried to qualify for the Summer Olympics as a sprinter during the offseason, is also likely the NFL’s fittest player. Just don’t tell him that.
“I don’t pay too much attention to who’s the fittest in the league,” Metcalf tells InsideHook. “I just try to focus on myself and work hard to be in the best shape possible so I can play the best football possible. The truth is, I’m always taking care of my body. I tend to stick to a strict diet most of the year, regardless of when I’m in season or not. I do love Sweet Baked Beans. I could eat them every day, but there is a level of balance that needs to be maintained.”
One way the 23-year-old maintains that balance is percussive therapy — an increasingly popular recovery tool that involves pulsating muscles, tendons and ligaments with a heavy-duty massage gun to induce blood flow and relax connective tissues. You probably saw football players using the devices on the sidelines of games last season, and that trend is only going to grow going forward.
“Theragun is huge for me in terms of preparation and getting ready to go out on the field,” says Metcalf. “It helps activate and loosen up my muscles so I can be my best. I also love PowerDot for a more passive, targeted treatment. Last year, I was having a couple of problems with my knees and our trainers gave me the PowerDot to use before practice. I put it on my quads and the electric stimulation helped prep me to go out to practice, run, and put my best foot forward. “
Full disclosure: Metcalf is an athletic ambassador for Theragun’s parent company, Therabody. But he’s also a big enough believer in the technology that he recently put his money where his mouth is, coming aboard as an investor as well.
“As a professional athlete, taking care of your body has been, is, and will always be, important,” he says. “My understanding of the importance of taking care of my body — physically and mentally — makes me hope everyone can learn that and begin to prioritize it so we can all be our best at what we do and love. The tools and knowledge I have at my disposal as a professional athlete about taking care of myself should be available to everyone because everyone has a body. Therabody has really helped me understand my body better so I can take control of what it needs. Once you are able to hone in on that skill as an athlete, I believe you can take your game to the next level.”
Now entering his third season and poised for a breakout year, Metcalf and the rest of his teammates will have to elevate their game if they want to keep pace with the Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.
“We play in one of the best and most challenging divisions in football, so we have six important games to win. I’m looking forward to them all, but mostly just excited to get back out on the field and compete,” Metcalf says. “We got off to a good start last year and we’re looking to do the same this season. Russell [Wilson] amazes me every single day. He’s an incredible leader, teammate and football player. It’s an honor to go to work beside him every single day. [Head coach] Pete [Carroll} has such great experience and really challenges us to be our best. There’s great chemistry on this team and I’m grateful to be a part of it. “
This season, Metcalf hopes playing his part will involve doing an impersonation of a recent inductee to Canton.
“I like to think Calvin Johnson — Megatron,” he says. “He’s an all-time great and we share a lot of the same attributes. He’s a legend in the game and someone to look up to. I feel like I’ve still got room to grow.”
At 6’4″ and 229, we’ll take his word for it.