Baltimore Ravens running back reveals love of Irish dancing

Alex Collins posted a video of himself practising - the secret to his fast feet he says

Alex Collins a running back with American Football side Baltimore Ravens is a keen Irish dancer. He was introduced to it by his high school football coach’s daughter, Bryanne Gatewood who he is seen dancing with in this clip. Video: Baltimore Ravens

 

Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins has revealed the secret behind his excellent footwork - Irish dancing.

Collins even has a dancing nickname, Mitch Finn, which is inspired by his admiration for Michael Flatley.

The Ravens running back started practicing Irish dancing last year and on Friday he posted a video of himself in action. He was introduced to the sport by his high school football coach’s daughter, Bryanne Gatewood, who Collins describes as being like a sister to him.

She began taking him to some Irish dancing performances in 2011, when he was still in high school, but at the time he wasn’t convinced. “The two debated for years whether Irish dancing is a sport,” as explained in a Sports Illustrated article which first revealed the link.

“Collins argued no, real sports had to be televised; Bryanne insisted real sports involve any kind of competition.”

Collins went on to be a football star at Arkansas but when he returned home in 2016 to prepare for the NFL Draft, their debate resumed. Collins was challenged to give it a go himself, and he accepted. One lesson at the Drake School of Irish Dance in Florida was all it took and he fell in love with it.

The Ravens are currently in second place in AFC north, with the 23 year-old running 261 yards in his four games so far this season. He’s yet to score a touchdown however - perhaps he’ll unleash an Irish jig when he breaks his duck?

“I have my own little routine. I have my own hard shoes and everything,” Collins says. “The hardest thing is trying to jump without using my arms, because in football we jump and use our arms to help us.

“People made fun of me, and I’m like, ‘It helps with my footwork and my conditioning.’”

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