The Irish Jig and a Backup Gig: Dance Lessons Helping Alex Collins' Push for Seahawks' No. 2 Running Back Job


RENTON — On a summer trip to Ireland in 2018, Alex Collins took a tour of the famed Cliffs of Moher. He got to the top of the cliffs and, naturally, he started to dance.

"Being a male Irish dancer takes shamrocks," read the T-shirt Collins wore that day.

Collins was able to show off his Irish dance moves in his touchdown celebration after his 8-yard run helped clinch the Seahawks' Week 17 victory at San Francisco last season.

After a solid showing during the first week of Seahawks training camp, the veteran running back looks like he will have a few more chances to celebrate with his dance steps this season.

"The fans have been wanting to see the Irish dance, " he said Tuesday, "so I've been coming up with new ways to show out."

Collins picked up Irish dancing back home in Florida in 2016, as he prepared for the NFL draft. His high school coach's daughter was an Irish dancer, and she eventually dared him to try. He did it, and enjoyed it. Better yet, he discovered the footwork required for the dance moves helped him as a running back.

He's continued to take dance lessons in the offseason — he's usually the only male dancer in his classes — and he reported for camp last week noticeably leaner.

Collins is listed at 210 pounds, about 10 pounds lighter than when the Seahawks drafted him in the fifth round in 2016.

"Hopefully I look better, a little skinnier," Collins said, smiling.

Teammates and coaches have taken notice.

"Alex Collins is going to be a monster," DK Metcalf volunteered this week.

After playing for the Seahawks in 2016, Collins had his best season with Baltimore in 2017, rushing for 973 yards and six TDs. Injuries slowed him in 2018, and he was out of football in 2019.

He returned to the Seahawks last November, initially joining the practice squad and then getting activated for three games as injuries mounted for Seattle's running backs.

Collins then re-signed with Seattle on a one-year veteran deal this offseason, and he is now pushing Rashaad Penny for carries behind starter Chris Carson.

"They wanted me to come back here when I was a free agent (last fall) ... and it was like nostalgia being back in the facility, seeing the same coaches and some of the same players," Collins said. "It was a dream almost, like wow, we picked up right where we left off and just those good vibes again. I came here and didn't miss a step. It's a great feeling."