NFL star Metcalf's 100-metre bid met with scepticism from veterans of the track

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By Amy Tennery

(Reuters) - "Football players don't have any clue."

That was the verdict of Olympian Mike Rodgers as National Football League wide receiver DK Metcalf prepares to compete in the 100-metre sprint at Sunday's USA Track and Field (USATF) Golden Games and Distance Open in Walnut, California.

The Seattle Seahawk, who posted a 4.33-second, 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL combine, is competing in hope of earning a spot at next month's U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. He famously chased down a 90-yard interception in an October game with a top speed of 22.64 mph (36.44 kph), according to NFL data.

But veterans of the track were sceptical.

Rodgers, who will compete against Metcalf in the 100-metre sprint, told reporters in an online media briefing that he watched video of Metcalf's combine performance and believes he saw the wide receiver's energy flagging near the end.

"And he has to do it twice – and that’s if he gets through the first round," he said of Sunday's competition. An attempt to reach Metcalf's agent on Thursday was unsuccessful.

Rodgers, who picked up gold in the 100-metre relay at the 2019 World Championships, said NFL players often do not have the mechanics and weight distribution techniques of sprinters.

USATF's qualifying standard for the Olympic trials is 10.05 seconds for the men's 100 metres.

"The track and field community has been going back and forth with the NFL community as to who’s actually fast and who’s not," said Rai Benjamin, who won gold in the 2019 World Championship in the 400-metre relay and will compete in the 400-metre hurdles Sunday.

"By no means am I discounting DK. I think he’s a phenomenal athlete and it takes a lot of guts and heart to actually come out and line up against the guys that are in the field."

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)