NFL star DK Metcalf plans to test his speed in the World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Walnut tomorrow ©Getty Images

National Football League (NFL) wide receiver DK Metcalf looks likely to earn the headlines one way or another at tomorrow's USA Track and Field (USATF) Golden Games in Walnut in California.

The Seattle Seahawk is understood to be competing in this World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event in the hope of earning a place at next month’s US Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

But the reception he is getting from multiple world relay medallist Michael Rodgers - and former world record holder and multiple world and Olympic champion Michael Johnson - could kindly be described as sceptical.

Metcalf clocked 4.33sec in the traditional 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Combine, and is famed for chasing down a breakaway from Arizona Cardinals defensive back Budda Baker last season, running more than 100 yards to prevent what seemed like a certain touchdown, and reaching a top speed of 22.64 miles per hour in pads and cleats.

But his prospective 100 metres opponent Rodgers, 36, told reporters in an online briefing that he had watched the 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," Rodgers said of tomorrow’s.

Renaldo Nehemiah, a track agent and former world 110m hurdles record holder who also played three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, commented: "There’s not a sprinter in the world who will let this guy think he can run with them.

"They will destroy him.

"It’s a noble gesture but an exercise in futility.

"It really is.

"No offense to DK, I’m a fan of his.

"I applaud him for wanting to find out - and find out he will."

Johnson, a four-time Olympic champion over the 200m and 400m distances, tweeted yesterday: "With [Metcalf] competing this weekend at @usatf meet, sprinters rightly feel disrespected.

"People don’t understand their talent.

"But that’s not DK’s fault or the media’s fault.

"The sport has done little to show the immense skill and talent it takes to run 100m in under 10 seconds."

Metcalf would need to record 10.05 or better to earn an automatic invitation to the US Olympic trials.

World 200 metres champion Noah Lyles will make his season's debut at that distance in tomorrow's World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Walnut, Califormia ©Getty Images
World 200 metres champion Noah Lyles will make his season's debut at that distance in tomorrow's World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Walnut, Califormia ©Getty Images

World 200 metres champion Noah Lyles will open his season at that distance, and there will be significant landmarks for two other massively talented US athletes.

World 400 metres hurdles silver medallist Rai Benjamin hasn’t raced over the barriers since 2019, during a season when he became the third-fastest ever with a time of 46.98sec.

Benjamin has already opened his season with a 400m flat clocking of 44.97sec as he chased home his friend Michael Norman, who won in 44.67 at Eugene two weeks ago and who will contest the 400m in Walnut.

Commonwealth champion Kyron McMaster, from the British Virgin Islands, looks likely to give Benjamin the closest race for his money.

Meanwhile Shamier Little is planning a return to women’s 400m hurdles action having recently become only the second woman to break 53 seconds for the hurdles and 50 seconds for the 400m flat in running 49.91sec at last month’s Miramar Invitational.

Sha'Carri Richardson, who moved to sixth on the all-time women's 100m list with her world under-20 record of 10.72 in Florida on April 11 will go again over that distance, while 35-year-old multiple world and Olympic champion Allyson Felix runs over 200m.

After struggling with a foot injury last year, Greece’s US-based Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi will seek to build on her 4.61-metre clearance from last weekend in Chula Vista as she goes up against Katie Nageotte and Commonwealth champion Alysha Newman of Canada.

Britain’s Laura Muir will be in a women’s 800 metres field than will include her compatriot Jemma Reekie and US world silver medallist Raevyn Rogers.