RENTON, Wash. – DK Metcalf hasn’t attended a regular-season NFL game since his father, Terrence, last played in the league in 2010.
He’ll finally get to take in another on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Cincinnati Bengals at 1:05 p.m.
And he has no intention of watching from the sidelines.
The highly hyped Seahawks receiver said Thursday he is fully recovered from what he called minor knee surgery that took place 16 days ago and will play, making his NFL regular-season debut.
“I am 100 percent,” Metcalf said simply while sitting in his locker prior to Thursday’s practice.
How much he’ll play, he said, is up to coaches.
But how much is he ready to play?
When asked if he can play as many snaps as the team would need, he said, “Yes sir. Yes sir.”
Coach Pete Carroll on Wednesday said only “you’ll have to wait and see” on how much Metcalf will play.
But if the question of how much Metcalf will play is undoubtedly important to those in fantasy football circles, the more relevant question for the Seahawks, which apparently has been answered, is that Metcalf is ready to go.
“I can’t wait to be back out there on Sunday,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf has played in just one half of one preseason game so far, getting 26 snaps in the opener against Denver before being sidelined.
His injury then came as something of a surprise – and elicited the predictable angst in the fan base – as Metcalf was scratched from the second preseason game at Minnesota, with the decision then made to have surgery the following week.
Metcalf was vague on the specifics of the injury but said “it kind of just came up, started lingering around.”
He had surgery on Aug. 20.
“It was just really a decision me and coach Carroll and John (Seahawks GM John Schneider) had to make,” Metcalf said. “It was really just up in the air, and we all just agreed on that.”
Metcalf said the plan at the time was that he would be ready Week 1.
“Just a minor procedure that we had to go through and that was pretty much it,” Metcalf said.
Carroll earlier referred to Metcalf’s quick healing process as keeping in line with his stated fondness for the fictional superhero character Wolverine.
“He doesn’t stay down for long,” Metcalf said Thursday when asked why he identifies with Wolverine. “If he gets a cut or a bruise or something, it goes away immediately.”
As Metcalf noted, though, it’s not quite that simple in the NFL.
He also missed the Seahawks’ mock game with an oblique strain and said, “I’ve been dealing with injuries for the past couple of months and they just kind of lingered around a little bit.”
In that sense, the time off following the surgery may have been helpful. He has gradually ramped up his work the last week, and on Wednesday was listed as a limited participant in practice.
The reality of injuries has struck Meetcalf a little too starkly over the last few years, one reason why a little knee surgery may have seemed like no big deal.
Metcalf missed 15 games in his three seasons at Ole Miss, breaking a foot as a true freshman and getting a redshirt year and then seeing his final season end due to a neck injury.
That’s all made Metcalf that much more appreciative for every chance to play. It’s also why Metcalf isn’t going to worry about the time he has missed.
Carroll said recently what is obvious – that Metcalf could have used the practice time and snaps in preseason games in preparing for his first NFL season.
He had just one catch for 8 yards on four targets against Denver before being sidelined, all from backup QB Geno Smith, and has yet to play in a game with Russell Wilson.
“That’s the biggest concern, he just doesn’t get enough snaps in preseason that he could have benefited from,” Carroll said. “He’s shown us that he can play, and he can do the stuff we need him to do. We don’t have any question about that. It’s just the quality of reps and repetitions and stuff like that. We won’t be able to benefit from that.”
Metcalf, though, said he thinks he got enough work to be ready.
“I don’t think it was a setback,” he said. “I sharpened up my mental game. I go to learn the offense a little more coming from that first game. I kind of got used to the speed of the game.”
He learned something else in his half against Denver.
“The DBs (defensive backs) are a lot smarter, a lot stronger, a lot quicker than college,” he said. “So you know, just thinking about that when I go out there when I play on Sundays.”
Metcalf said his father and mother are flying in for the game and expect to see him play.
But if he promises to play as much as asked, Metcalf isn’t setting any other expectations just yet.
“Just going in there just to have fun and pull off a W,” Metcalf said.
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