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DK Metcalf likes how open new Seahawks coach is. Why he will always love Pete Carroll

DK Metcalf likes Mike Macdonald, particularly how open a communicator he is with players.

He enjoys Ryan Grubb. Metcalf likes his new offensive coordinator motivating Seahawks players “to be our best selves” in an all-new offense.

Yet Seattle’s star, $72 million wide receiver makes it clear: He will forever appreciate Pete Carroll.

Carroll was the coach who didn’t care a doctor in Memphis told Metcalf in 2018 he would never play football again because of a cervical fracture in college at Ole Miss

Carroll was the oldest coach in the NFL who famously took off his shirt at the 2019 NFL scouting combine to “match” Metcalf showing off his Adonis-like physique.

Carroll is the coach who then traded up to draft him into the league.

Tuesday, five months after the Seahawks and general manager John Schneider fired Carroll and replaced him with Macdonald, Metcalf talked about his now-former coach.

“I love Pete,” Metcalf said before the first practice of Seattle’s mandatory minicamp at team headquarters.

“He’s the one. He’s the reason that I’m standing right here in front of y’all, along with John.

“He was a great coach for me. Can’t dismiss what he did for me and this organization, you know, before I got here and when I got here. He’s a great coach, a Hall of Fame-caliber coach, in my opinion.

“But, just sad to see somebody lose their job like that.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) stands on the sidelines before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Seattle, Wash.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) stands on the sidelines before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Seattle, Wash.

Why DK Metcalf loves Pete Carroll

Metcalf has “miracle” tattooed on his back. He’s said that’s “because God performed a miracle with me in college.”

He got Metcalf back playing football after he was severely injured in the fall of 2018. While blocking for an Ole Miss teammate on a kickoff return on a Saturday night in Arkansas, Metcalf’s head snapped back. His neck snapped with it. He cried when a doctor told him he’d never play again.

The Seahawks’ medical staff cleared Metcalf at the 2019 NFL combine. There, the Seahawks arranged to have one of their formal meetings with prospects be with Metcalf in Indianapolis. One of the Seahawks’ staffers there had Metcalf enter a Seahawks meeting room at the Crowne Plaza hotel without his shirt on.

Metcalf did as requested.

“Kind of pissed me off, so I took my shirt off, too,” Carroll joked later. “Not too long.”

Carroll and Schneider traded up to draft him in the second round that spring.

Metcalf often flourished, yet at times became frustrated, in the five seasons Carroll was his coach. The hulking Metcalf, 6 feet 4 and 235 pounds, had 1,303 yards with 10 touchdowns receiving in his second NFL season for the Seahawks. That was in 2020. That’s when he made the first of his two Pro Bowls. Following his career-high 12 touchdown passes from Russell Wilson in 2021, Metcalf signed his contract extension. It runs through 2025. He has the highest base salary on the team this year, $13 million.

In two seasons with Geno Smith as his quarterback, Metcalf has had 90 and 66 receptions for 1,048 and 1,114 yards, with six and eight touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl for the second time last season.

He’s also had outbursts on the field that have resulted in two ejections from games. The latest was in December against San Francisco. He’s had multiple NFL fines for unsportsmanlike conduct with officials and opponents.

Through it all, Carroll remained Metcalf’s constant and staunchest supporter. His old coach loved his receiver playing with such an edge, even when Metcalf went over it.

Yet more reasons Metcalf loves Carroll.

They still talk. Metcalf is in Renton learning Macdonald and Grubb. Carroll is at relatives’ kid sports games in the Seattle area, in the home he and his wife Glena have on the main island of Hawaii — wherever the 72-year-old now-former coach wants to be, well away from football.

“I’ve had conversations with him since then. He’s doing good,” Metcalf said.

“That’s all I can do, is keep in contact with him, because he gave me an opportunity to play in this league.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) stiff arms Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson (20) after a 21-yard catch during the second quarter of the game at Lumen Field, on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Seattle, Wash.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) stiff arms Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson (20) after a 21-yard catch during the second quarter of the game at Lumen Field, on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Seattle, Wash.

Metcalf, Ryan Grubb, Mike Macdonald

Metcalf wasn’t at many of the 10 organized team activities Macdonald led for the Seahawks over three weeks in May.

“I’ve only been here a couple days through the offseason,” Metcalf said.

“I’ve been chilling, working out, nothing interesting going on in my life. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.”

Why wasn’t he heard from much of the Seahawks’ April and May?

“It’s voluntary,” he said.

In the team’s mandatory practice Tuesday, Metcalf was gliding across the field smoothly pulling in passes other receivers had going wide of them in wind gusts of 30-plus mph.

Asked what he’s gotten to know about Metcalf in the few days he’s been inside Seahawks headquarters, Macdonald laughed.

“He’s a really good player,” the new coach said.

“He wants to be really good. He wants to be the best. And he wants to be pushed and coached hard, which you respect about him. Really the way he practices is really awesome. I mean, this guy practices extremely hard. Does all the little things you’re asking him to do. It’s a great example he is setting for that room and our offense as a whole.

“A lot of respect for DK, the type of player and person he is. I just love seeing him out there, because he raises the whole level of our team when he’s practicing for us.”

Metcalf said he likes what he sees in his short time so far in Grubb’s offense and Macdonald’s system.

“From the days I’ve been here, I like Coach Grubb. His motivation, how every day he’s strictly the same person. He’s always motivating us to be our best selves,” Metcalf said of the University of Washington offensive coordinator until January.

“And this offense, I think, has a lot of potential to be great, especially with the weapons that we have in our receiver room, tight end room, running back room, and even the O-line, the veteran leadership that we brought in this offseason.

“I think it has potential to be special.”

And Macdonald?

“It’s a learning curve for me, because I’ve been accustomed to one way for five years,” Metcalf said.

“Just with Coach Mike, I think his leadership and the way he views football, he’s a defensive coach. That’s one thing I don’t like about him.

“But it’s good for our team,” he said.

Yes, Metcalf was joking.

“But I just like the way how he’s open. He loves communication, open communication, talks to each player and he’s bringing his own style to Seattle. And that’s what I like. He’s not trying to copy anything that anybody’s done in the past. He’s just bringing Mike Macdonald to the Seattle Seahawks.”

Grubb is Metcalf’s third offensive coordinator in six years with the Seahawks. He debuted in the NFL with Brian Schottenheimer calling his plays. The last three seasons it was Shane Waldron.

“Every offense that I’ve played in from Schotty to Shane to now, they all have their unique variations,” Metcalf said, “but I like the way Grubb’s offense is very explosive and he tries to push the ball downfield.”