Unlike Peter Pan, DK Metcalf plans to grow out of his fighting phase.
The Seattle Seahawks' 23-year-old wideout was ejected late in Sunday's shutout loss in Green Bay after getting into an altercation with a couple of Packers players. It marked the third time this season Metcalf was called into coach Pete Carroll's office for extracurriculars.
"Me and (Carroll) have talked like three times, I think I have had an outburst three times this year, so we have talked three times and the conversation has always gotten better," Metcalf said, per the team's official website. "I'm a passionate player and I'm never going to back down from anything. He understands that, but at the same time, I'm starting to become a leader on this team, and I've got to grow up and continue to get better. I know that I'm still a work in progress. I don't like to use my age as an excuse, but sometimes I forget that I'm 23 years old. I have to continue to grow each day and the mistakes are going to get fixed."
Aside from Sunday's blow-up, Metcalf has also been fined for his interactions with Saints corner Marshon Lattimore, got into a social-media spat with Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, and picked up a taunting penalty in the season opener.
Part of Metcalf's frustration likely stems from his lack of productivity in an offense that has struggled. After a Pro Bowl season in which he went for 83/1,303/10, the big-bodied wideout has 42 catches for 606 yards and 8 TDs in nine games in 2021, including Sunday's 3/26/0 line.
Metcalf said he knows he has to be smarter and balance his fiery nature with cool-headed reactions. The third-year pro understands more attention is on him, and everyone is waiting for him to blow up again.
"I'm not going to back down from anything," he said. "I felt I was being challenged, and growing up is realizing that challenge and making the best decision for the team and not for myself.
"I was doing it last year with Stephon Gilmore and Jalen Ramsey, so I've been doing it, but I'm just under a tighter microscope right now. Everybody is watching me to see what I do and how I would react. I'm taking that into account every time I'm going into a game or preparing for a week where I'm being looked at. It's just another challenge that I have to overcome."
He'll be under the microscope again Sunday against a feisty Arizona Cardinals defense with which he's struggled in the past. Metcalf has averaged 18.8 receiving YPG in his career vs. the Cardinals, the fewest against any single opponent in his career. He's generated just six catches on 15 targets in four games against Arizona, with three of his five single-game lows in receiving yards coming versus the Cardinals.
If he can't break that trend Sunday afternoon, the world will be watching to see if Metcalf's frustration boils over once again.