D.K. Metcalf overcomes serious neck injury to become Seahawks’ breakout talent

SEATTLE — Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf is coming off another impressive game, with four catches for 69 yards.  He’s been the breakout player in this year’s rookie class.

Remarkable, considering that one year ago he wondered if he’d ever play football again. At 6 feet 4 inches, 230 pounds, and all muscle, he looks invincible.

However, this time last year, he suffered a serious injury that ended his season and raised questions if his days playing football were over.  So he did what he’s always done: turned to faith and family.

“There’s one motivation I have playing this game. To take care of [my family]. To take care of them. Be the best role model, best son, brother that I can be,” Metcalf said.

For the Metcalfs, football runs deep.  His dad Terrence played offensive line for the Chicago Bears for seven seasons. His cousin Eric was an all-pro return specialist, running back and receiver.

Still, it’s not expectation driving D.K. It’s the obligation to set an example for his four younger siblings, including his 9-year-old brother.

“I know they’re watching me and anything I do, I know they’re going to mimic,” he said. “Just a little pressure to be perfect and walk a straight line.”

Metcalf says being a big brother meant he had to grow up fast.

“It motivates me to be the best person I can, on and off the field. They’re my motivation,” he said.

Motivation he would call upon while playing for the University of Mississippi.  While there, a neck injury during a game landed him in the hospital, ending his college career and putting his football future into question.

“Scared at first, because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play football again,” he said. “First doctor told me it was over, and we had to run some more tests. But just thankful to God that he gave me another opportunity.”

An opportunity to recover, and declare for the draft. Despite headlines calling him a flop waiting to happen, the Seahawks traded up to get Metcalf in the second round.

Following his second touchdown of the season during a huge win on Thursday Night Football, he had just enough time to sneak in a visit.

On that trip back to Mississippi, the gratitude for his family was on full display. Metcalf bought his mom a brand-new SUV.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said. “Just giving back to my mom in any way I can. She’s been my rock.”

Metcalf grew up on Oxford, Miss. and stayed there from college. He says that while he misses his family, he’s not homesick, in part because he’s already found a family here with the Seahawks.

He says that from day one, he felt connected and supported.

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