DK Metcalf was not supposed to earn himself a shot at Olympic glory by winning today’s 100-meter qualifier event.
Spoiler alert: he didn’t.
After an alright start, the wide receiver fell to ninth place in his heat — dead last — running a 10.36. That won’t get him a ticket to Tokyo. It won’t even get him a spot in the next round at today’s Golden Games.
But, hell, 10.36 is pretty fast, especially for an NFL player of Metcalf’s size.
We knew Metcalf had the speed when he ran down Budda Baker on Sunday Night Football. But, again, he ran next to folks today who sprint for a living. Anything close to a first-place finish for DK would’ve been shocking.
After the race, NBC asked Metcalf why he felt compelled to come out and compete against some of the fastest men in the country.
“Just to test my speed up against these world-class athletes,” he responded. “Having the opportunity to come out here and run against these guys was just a blessing.”
He concluded by noting that track is “very different from football speed, from what I just realized.”
But there is some historical precedent for football players in the Olympics — track and field, specifically. There are over 35 NFL athletes who have participated in Olympic track and field. “Bullet” Bob Hayes is the only NFLer with a Super Bowl ring and an Olympic Gold medal. Marquise Goodwin competed in the long-jump in London. Tommie Smith’s fist and gold medal was iconic in 1968 — but few know he also caught a pass as a Cincinnati Bengal. And, before the pandemic, Tyreek Hill said he would consider attempting to qualify for the then 2020 Games. Metcalf wound up trying, despite no official signal that he wanted to compete in Tokyo. So was he trying to one-up Hill? Who knows.
Well … there goes 2021’s first attempt at a two-sport pro. You’re next, Tebow.