Speaking to the media on Wednesday morning, Schwartz said he was trying to pay Metcalf a compliment when he brought up three-time, first-team All-Pro Calvin Johnson to the second-year wide receiver.
“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, via ESPN’s Tim McManus. “[I] said I’d read his story, knew he’d overcome injury, knew he was a had worker, said he reminded 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.'”
And yet, apparently Metcalf found Schwartz’s words so motivating that he had no choice but to put up a career high 177 yards receiving.
“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.”
If anyone should feel some kind of way about that comparison, Schwartz said it should be Johnson. Schwartz was Johnson’s head coach in Detroit from 2009-2013, the prime of the wideout’s career.
“You just have to understand just how much esteem I hold Calvin in,” Schwartz said. “The greatest honor of my coaching career was coaching that guy day in and day out. He’s meant a lot to my kids and my family and everything else. So I tried to pay a guy a compliment.”
Schwartz’s comments to Metcalf probably wouldn’t have offended most people under normal circumstances. But this is just how some athletes like to draw their motivation. Like George Karl at the restaurant with Jordan, Schwartz might have offended Metcalf no matter what he did or didn’t say.