The Caw: Alex Collins Is an Irish Dancer, and Here's the Video to Prove It


Betchya you didn't know where Ravens running back Alex Collins got his excellent footwork.

Yes, as the headline says, Collins is into Irish dancing. And to this untrained eye, he's really good.

Here's the video proof.

Per a story from MMQB's Kaylen Kahler, Collins was first introduced to the sport by his high school football coach's daughter, Bryanne Gatewood, who Collins calls his sister.

Gatewood began taking Collins to see some of her performances in 2011, when Collins was still in high school. He would tease her about it not being a real sport, and the two debated it for years.

Collins went on to be a football star at Arkansas, where he became the third player in SEC history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and finished second in Razorbacks history in career rushing yards (3,703), only trailing Darren McFadden.

When he returned home in 2016 to train in preparation for the NFL Draft, the debate resumed and Gatewood finally dared Collins to try Irish dancing for himself. Never one to back down from a challenge, Collins gave it a go.

After one lesson at the Drake School of Irish Dance in Florida, he fell in love with it. Collins even has a dancing nickname, Mitch Finn, which was inspired by Michael Flatley, a well-known performer from "Lord of the Dance" fame.

"I have my own little routine. I have my own hard shoes and everything," Collins proudly said Wednesday before pulling up the video above on his phone. "People made fun of me, and I'm like, 'It helps with my footwork and my conditioning.'"

That leads us to the second part of this story, which is about how Collins recently stuck up for a 12-year-old boy, Carl, who was being bullied for taking Irish dance lessons.

After Joanne Tubbs sent a Tweet to Collins asking for help, the Ravens running back responded with this:

"Big smile tonight from Carl. Thanks for the encouragement and support - I think you also have a new no. 1 fan :-)," Tubbs responded.

Outside of people teasing him about his Irish dancing, Collins said he was bullied a little bit when he started playing lacrosse at South Plantation High School just outside of Fort Lauderdale.

"You can imagine you have your group of friends and they're like, 'You're playing lacrosse!? Nooo.' I'm like, 'Yeah, it's actually a lot of fun. I get to beat people with sticks!'" Collins said.

Collins said his friends eventually joined him in lacrosse, where Collins turned into a beastly player who could have played in college had it not been for football.

"People don't want to be the first person. They don't want to be that person that's being made fun of," he said. "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."

Who knows, maybe Collins will meet Carl on the Irish dance floor someday …

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