RENTON, Wash. -- DK Metcalf believes opponents are trying to bait him into losing his cool, even more often than they did during his 2020 Pro Bowl season.
And the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver says he has to do a better job of not biting.
"For sure," Metcalf said Thursday, when asked if defenders are trying to take him out of his game by getting in his head. "They can't stop me any other way or stop Tyler [Lockett] any other way. So the best thing they can do is just try to talk stuff to me."
Or, as he more colorfully put it when asked what teams are doing differently against him in Year 3: "Talking s---. That's it."
Through two games, Metcalf has been involved with several chippy moments with defenders, some of which lasted through the whistle. He's also been flagged four times, including once for taunting after a Seattle touchdown in the second quarter of the opener. That pushed the Seahawks back 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Indianapolis Colts to start a drive that led to a touchdown at the 32.
"He was really jacked for both games, early in them, and tried too much to have an impact," coach Pete Carroll said. "He's finding his way. He's so prepared to go for it and he's finding his way. He had a couple of penalties that were costly because he was going overboard a little bit."
Metcalf agreed with Carroll's assessment:
"He's completely right," he said. "I'm an emotional person. I play with a competitive edge and I'm not trying to lose anything whether that's an argument or a route, anything. So I'm just going to compete my butt off ... get close to the line but don't cross it."
How does he do that?
"Knowing myself and knowing that they're trying to get to me and trying to get me to cross that line," he said. "But there's a bigger prize at the end of the tunnel, so not just falling into the trap and knowing that I play for a team, not just for myself."
Metcalf admitted that he fell into that trap last week in the Seahawks' overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans. Two of this three penalties came on the same play, when he was flagged for a hold (declined) and pass interference on a screen to Chris Carson. Another hold on a screen to receiver Freddie Swain was also declined.
The Seahawks committed 10 penalties for 100 yards against Tennessee, one reason they blew a 15-point halftime lead.
"He's finding out the boundaries to play within," Carroll said. "He's so physical that he finds himself in situations where he's overwhelming a guy at times, so he needs to know how the officials are calling it and when to throw his hands up. I'm OK with what he's trying to do. He's battling and competing, but we have to do it within the guidelines.
"That messaging is important for our whole club after last week. We had things happen that didn't need to happen. It was stuff that happened after the play was finished and we gave away a ton of yards in situations that we have to do better at. He was a part of that."
One of Seattle's 10 penalties was another taunting foul, this time by cornerback D.J. Reed. Carroll said this week that the league's new emphasis on enforcing the taunting rule has "opened up a bit of a can of worms."
Said Metcalf: "The game's evolving, so we have to, too."
Metcalf has 10 catches on 16 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown through two games. His score came in the fourth quarter of the opener after he went the first half without a target. Lockett, meanwhile, has three touchdowns and ranks second in the NFL with 278 receiving yards, a new franchise record through two games.
"Last year I was a little bit frustrated at times when I didn't get the ball, but when I see Tyler going for 200 or Freddie catching his first touchdown this year, that's just exciting for me," Metcalf said. "So as long as the team's winning and we're winning, I don't care. I'm trying to win a Super Bowl."
The last of Metcalf's 11 targets against Tennessee was on the second play of Seattle's three-and-out in overtime. He looked too hobbled by a sore knee to make a play on Russell Wilson's throw.
But Metcalf was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's practice after Carroll said the receiver told him he was fine. And if that wasn't enough to ease any concern, Metcalf had this answer to a question from a reporter about his knee:
"My knee is good. You trying to race?"
The light-hearted exchange continued with Metcalf telling the reporter that he'd give him a 50-yard head start in a 100-yard race and would still win.
"That's how good my knee is," he said with a laugh.