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The Aquilian

D.K. Metcalf flashes his speed in professional track debut

D.K. Metcalf hopes to have similar success on the track as he does on the football field. (Photo from Public Domain Pictures)

The debate between football and track fans over which athletes can sprint faster has a new variable, thanks to Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. On May 9, Metcalf took a stab at a 100-meter race at the USATF Golden Games against professional sprinters.

Many track and field fans tend to argue in favor of track sprinters, saying that sprinting is what they do, they train for it, and they’re very good at it. NFL players are fast on the field, just not at the same level as sprinters.

Seeing an athlete run fast on the football

field is very different from the track in my opinion. Sure, he can sprint for 40 yards to make a tackle or catch a pass, but can he hold that concentration for 100 meters? Will his form break down as his body gets more tired? 

The variable that I found most interesting is that Metcalf is 6’4 and nearly 240 pounds; he isn’t built like your average track sprinter. He is much heavier, taller, and has more muscle mass.

Despite this, Metcalf still ran 10.37 for 100 meters, finishing last in his heat. Not enough for him to qualify for the Olympic Trials this summer but respectable nonetheless. For a man his size, moving that speed is very, very impressive.

D.K. Metcalf isn’t built like a sprinter, but can still keep up with the best of them. (Photo from All Pro Reels Photography)

Metcalf is not the only NFL player who has flirted with the idea of pursuing a career in track and field. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, nicknamed “Cheetah”, ran the Olympic Trials standard in the 200 meters as a senior in high school. Since then, he has repeatedly hinted at a possible return to the track.

Personally, I believe Metcalf put the argument of NFL players being faster than track sprinters to rest. The level of precision and pure speed it takes in track is not the same as in football. Metcalf even said it himself after the race, I’m just happy to be here, excited to have the opportunity, thank God for the opportunity to run against world-class athletes like this.”

By the same token, I think this performance by Metcalf could mean something bigger for the connection between football and track. He is the first big name football player to run track professionally in a long time. 

His exceptional performance could spark interest in other NFL athletes to get into track as well. With the Olympics being a very real possibility for many of them, representing the United States could draw heavy interest among America’s fastest men.

Metcalf’s experience on the professional track circuit was a net positive in my book. I was able to see a football player race track athletes and gain a new perspective on how the sport could continue to unfold over the coming years.

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