Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins had an explosive night last night against the Miami Dolphins, but Collins has a not-so-secret workout routine that is making him a force on the field and off. Alex Collins has started training with Irish dancing, the lightning-fast steps which are giving Collins something extra at game time, but it also has given him something off the field by helping a 12-year-old boy stand up to bullies. Ironically, Alex Collins is helping the Baltimore Ravens gain a following back in Ireland.
Ravens running back Alex Collins is sidestepping the defense and eluding tacklers, and he credits it to his fine footwork thanks to a practice of Irish dance (think Riverdance). Sure, Alex Collins is focused on the field, and what he does in cleats, but it's his time in his jig shoes that sets him apart from many other offensive players on the field. And thanks to Irish dance, Alex Collins is now a Ravens' secret weapon and the NFL leader in yards per attempt.
Alex Collins can watch film and see that the steps he uses in class are the moves he uses on the field in Ravens' Stadium.
"There's numerous clips from game-day action that I can pull and show the same exact footwork from my steps in Irish dance that I did out there on the field to make somebody miss."Alex Collins came to Irish dance on a dare from the daughter of his high school coach, whom Collins refers to as his little sister. Collins was game to see if Irish dance could help him in the 2016 NFL draft. It did, and Alex Collins added Irish dance into his offseason workout routine, even if it means he sticks out in class amongst the teen and tween girls (who routinely kick his bum).
"It was embarrassing. I couldn't get through warmups without breaking out in a sweat. All the kids were laughing at me."But the new Baltimore Ravens "Lord of the Dance" has more than a spring in his step. Irish dancing is all about the power coming from with your legs with your arms calmly at your side. It's like a duck moving swiftly across a pond with all of the crazy action going on below the water's surface. And Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has noticed the spring in Collins' step.
"He does bounce. He keeps his balance after contact, and he makes yards after the hit. That is the mark of a good back. Everybody has their different style. That is his style."But Alex Collins was able to do something amazing off the field for a 12-year-old Iowa boy, Carl Tubbs after his mother, Joanne Tubbs tweeted Alex Collins for some advice.
".Alex Collins gave Carl and Joanne his words of advice and so did others, including the official Riverdance Company. Collins replied directly to Joanne and Carl.
@Budda03 Any advice for a 12yr old boy getting bullied for taking Irish dance lessons?Maybe a shoutout to dancer Carl from you would help?"
"Never stop doing the things you love because someone else doesn't agree. chase your dreams Carl and don't let them stop you from being great!"But Collins and the Baltimore Ravens took it one step further and invited Joanne, Carl and Carl's younger brother to meet Alex Collins on the field last weekend for the Ravens-Vikings game in Minnesota. Alex Collins posed for photos and shook hands with the Tubbs family. Collins wanted Carl to know that he was impressed with him.
"I want to let you know I'm proud of you," Collins told Carl. "I'm going to be following your career."
Alex Collins explained that it's hard to be a trailblazer, doing things that nobody else around you is doing.
"This little kid, I put myself in his shoes and I just imagined him trying to chase his dreams and people making fun of him and then him possibly quitting when that could be something that he really pursued in the future."But if Alex Collins and his fancy footwork hadn't already put him on the map in Ireland, his support of Carl Tubbs and his love of Irish dance made Alex Collins and the Baltimore Ravens favorites in the Emerald Isle. A video of Alex Collins in his Irish dancing class at the Drake School of Dance went viral, and now the Ravens player has a huge new fan base.
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Alex Collins explains that in his position on the field he needs to be on his toes, and it's like being in Irish dance class.
"In here [the dance studio] I'm always on my toes and out on the football field I'm on my toes."Collins says it also builds up his calf muscles in an "Incredible Hulk" kind of way making him more explosive on the field. And Alex Collins says that anyone who says that Irish dancing doesn't involve some serious exertion and athletic ability, they are wrong because the kids in his class do some hard work.
"It's definitely a sport," he added. "Don't tell them I said that!"
What do you think of Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins using Irish dance for training? Do you think Collins helped by sending a message to those who would bully a boy for dancing?[Featured Image by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images]
[Video by Youtube/CBS News]