RENTON — When Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf returned last week to Seattle from Germany, he was almost $30,000 lighter than when he left.
But exactly what Metcalf did to earn a hefty fine from the NFL for a personal foul he received during Seattle’s 21-16 loss to Tampa Bay in Munich will remain a mystery.
Metcalf was penalized after arguing with side judge Allen Baynes that he had been interfered with by Tampa Bay cornerback Jamel Dean on a fade route in the end zone on a third-down play in the third quarter with the Seahawks trailing 14-0.
Baynes threw the flag as Metcalf left the field, said something and then pointed in his direction.
But the flag wasn’t the extent of the damage. Metcalf was later fined $29,785, which is the standard amount for a first offense for what the NFL terms “Verbal or other Non-Physical Offense Against Official.”
Asked during his weekly media availability Tuesday what he said to get fined, Metcalf responded: “You’ve gotta ask the $30,000 ref that got it said to him. I don’t think it was that big of a deal in my opinion.”
As for the fact that he was fined at all, Metcalf said, “I mean, it’s the NFL so I’m not tripping.”
The penalty could have been costly to Seattle as it meant kicker Jason Myers had to attempt a 55-yard field goal instead of a 40-yarder.
That was no easy feat on what was a challenging and slippery turf.
Myers got Metcalf off the hook by making the kick to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 14-3.
The sequence briefly revived some unpleasant memories from 2021, when Metcalf was flagged three times for personal fouls, including being disqualified in a game against Green Bay for his role in an altercation with a Packers player that included grabbing the face mask of safety Henry Black.
Metcalf was fined for two of those penalties, as well as another time when he was fined for a tussle with New Orleans’ Marshon Lattimore on a play in which he was not penalized.
But each of those fines was for just $6,949, paling in comparison to what Metcalf received for the incident with Baynes and speaking to how the NFL views any verbal offenses directed at officials.
The fine is the largest the NFL has for any infraction other than fighting or making physical contact with a referee. All fine amounts are collectively bargained between the league and the NFL Players Association, and the specific amounts for each infraction are revealed before the season.
Metcalf said following the Green Bay game, “I’ve got to grow up.”
His flag against Tampa Bay was the first personal foul penalty he has received this season.
After the penalty, TV cameras showed Metcalf and coach Pete Carroll talking on the sidelines, the conversation ending with Carroll giving Metcalf a calm pat and Metcalf nodding as if everything was good.
Metcalf said Tuesday that his reaction was an appreciation for Carroll’s support.
“I know he’s got my back and he’s always gonna have my best interests at heart,” Metcalf said. “And you know, he’s looking to win. So just for him to come over there and talk to me so I can calm down and he could get the full story on my end and from the official, that really just shows the trust and the relationship that we have.”
Metcalf might find another sympathetic ear on the field Sunday in receiver Davante Adams of the Raiders. Adams was also flagged for arguing with an official during Las Vegas’ win over Denver on Sunday and might be at risk of being slapped with a similar fine this week.
Should Metcalf incur the same penalty again this year, he would be at risk of an even larger fine. The amount for a second offense for verbal abuse of an official is a whopping $59,575.
Fines are deducted from a player’s paycheck and the money goes to the NFL Foundation, a fund that assists former players.
Rhattigan returns to practice off PUP list
The Seahawks on Tuesday opened the 21-day window for linebacker Jon Rhattigan to return to practice off the Physically Unable to Perform list. Rhattigan suffered an ACL injury in a game in Los Angeles against the Rams last December.
“We’re really fired up that he has made it through his recovery and all that,” Carroll said. “This is his first day back, so we are kind of celebrating that first of all.”
Rhattigan played in 14 games as a rookie in 2021 after originally signing as an undrafted free agent out of Army and finished tied for fourth in special teams tackles with 10.
Rhattigan can now practice for 21 days before the team has to put him on the 53-man active roster or place him on the season-ending injured reserve.
Carroll indicated the team hopes to find a spot for Rhattigan on the roster.
“He’s just a good all-around ballplayer,” Carroll said. “…He’s really instinctive, he’s tough, he’s a smart player. We’ve missed him in the depth at the linebacker spot, but he’s really made his mark in special teams, and we are really hoping in getting him back out there.”
— While the team has a few other players on the injured reserve list who have not been ruled out for the season, such as cornerback Isaiah Dunn, linebacker Darryl Johnson Jr. and linebacker Alton Robinson, Carroll said none is close to returning. “There’s a couple of guys that have a possibility [of returning before the end of the season],” Carroll said. “But nothing on the early quick horizon here.”
— Coming off a bye and with this a holiday week, the Seahawks have changed up their schedule. They held what is normally their Wednesday practice Tuesday — usually the players’ day off during the week — and will hold what is normally their Thursday practice Wednesday. They will take a day off Thursday before returning Friday with what will be a normal Friday practice. Carroll said the format allows for players to enjoy Thanksgiving, get in the usual two days of heavy practice work and then get a day off. The Seahawks have had a similar schedule during Thanksgiving week in some recent seasons. “This is a really good way to do it if you can because for our guys coming off of the bye, to get another day on Thursday after two good, solid days of work is really a nice format,” Carroll said. “… We keep track of everything that we have ever done. This is just a format that we have liked.”
— The Seahawks did not have to release an injury report Tuesday so there were no official updates on injury situations. But the Seahawks were relatively healthy coming out of the Tampa Bay game with receiver Dee Eskridge suffering the most notable injury, with what Carroll said was a bruised hand.