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ESPN’s New Cover Story Stays Step For Step With DK Metcalf

David Fleming: "Crashing a story this big, this fast, during such a chaotic time, comes down to one thing, teamwork."

The latest multi-platform ESPN Cover Story featuring DK Metcalf debuted today. senior writer David Fleming spoke with the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver about growing up around football, overcoming a career-threatening injury, and chasing glory in the NFL.

Metcalf owes his incredible athleticism in part to his father Terrence, a Chicago Bears offensive lineman from 2002-2008. While at Ole Miss, Terrence was featured in writer ESPN senior writer Gene Wojciechowski’s 2001 ESPN The Magazine feature “Bad Company” (see below).

Terrence Metcalf (above), the father of NFL star receiver DK Metcalf, was just a student at Ole Miss when he was featured in ESPN The Magazine in 2001. (ESPN)

Now Terrence’s son DK – who also starred at Ole Miss – has been the talk of the league since the 2019 NFL Draft. The buzz became “viral” Oct. 25 after DK’s tremendous hustle prevented Arizona Cardinals defensive back Budda Baker from completing a pick-six interception return.

The teams meet again tonight, this time in Seattle. It’s a perfect time to learn more about the Metcalfs.

Below, Fleming shares with Front Row how the story “DK Metcalf is Chasing Down Glory” came together and the unusual note about the Seahawk who has played with both father and son.

This Cover Story came together in two weeks, unusual for a long-form feature like this. How did the shortened timeline affect your process?

DK Metcalf
(Ian Allen for ESPN)
Crashing a story this big, this fast, during such a chaotic time, comes down to one thing, teamwork. [Director, Talent Production] Stacey Pressman made the entire project possible by securing us incredible access under the toughest circumstances. Feature producer Michael O’Connor had the tightest deadline out of anyone but still made time to collaborate. Editor Dan Appenfeller did an amazing job synthesizing all the cross-platform requirements.

What didn’t make it into the story?
There was so much to cover with DK’s incredible story that we couldn’t include a lot about the crazy connection between Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen and the Metcalfs. Drafted by the 2007 Bears, Olsen played with Terrence Metcalf, DK’s dad and a lineman who played seven seasons in Chicago. This past summer Terrence was in Seattle when he saw Olsen mentoring DK. The connection across generations of NFL players rendered Terrence speechless. Olsen joked it “was a reminder that I’m an old dude,” and I was, like, “Shoot, I’ve covered all three of your careers, what does that make me?”

What other fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes can you share?
We were filming in my office, and my phone started buzzing like crazy. I was worried it was a family emergency, and I was right. Well, kind of. When I checked my phone, it was my oldest daughter, Ally, who is a sophomore (Dean’s List student) at Georgia, her socially-distanced semi-formal was coming up, and she needed a Groupon for a spray tan. Knowing we were under an extreme deadline for this project, I turned to my talented, respected colleagues, and the verdict was immediate and unanimous: Get Ally that Groupon. I mean, it was semi-formal.

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