Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz lit a fire under DK Metcalf ahead of Monday night's game, but on Wednesday the coach insisted he was actually trying to pay respect to the Seattle Seahawks' wide receiver.
Schwartz said he was complimenting Metcalf, an emerging star in the NFL, by comparing him to Calvin Johnson, who played for the Eagles defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions.
"In my mind, it's a little bit funny. Anytime you even speak somebody's name in the same sentence as Calvin Johnson, I don't know how you can take offense to that," Schwartz said, according to ESPN's Tim McManus.
"I tried to pay the guy a compliment, said I'd read his story, knew he'd overcome injury, heard he was a hard worker, and said he reminds me a little bit of Calvin, congratulated him after the game. And at the time he told me, 'Hey, thanks coach, that means a lot to me.'"
Metcalf said Schwartz's words gave him a "little chip" on his shoulder and the second-year wideout responded with a 177-yard career day in Seattle's 23-17 victory.
"If anybody wants to take offense to being compared to who I think is one of the greatest players in the history of the National Football League, then yeah - if you get your motivation that way, then fine," Schwartz said. "But we're not going to worry too much about that."
The Seahawks receiver said after the game that Schwartz compared him to Johnson before adding he wasn't "there yet," while the Philadelphia coach claimed he meant Metcalf was on the path to the future Hall of Famer's level.
Metcalf currently leads the league with 1,039 receiving yards, is third in yards per catch at 17.9, and is fifth in touchdowns receptions with nine.