Keep on dancing: 95-year-old woman shows Bengals CB how
Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick attended a "tailgate" party at a nursing home in suburban Loveland before Cincinnati's 34-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. A 95-year-old woman stole the show and made for a popular video.
Irma Shafer got up and danced away, making Kirkpatrick smile as he danced along. The moment was captured by a local television crew and shared on social media. Many fans shared it a few hours later as the Bengals played their way to their first 2-0 start since 2015. Kirkpatrick was surprised it got so much reaction.
"I didn't even know how big it was going to get," Kirkpatrick said. "When they sent it out — however it got out — my phone just started going crazy."
Kirkpatrick's girlfriend is a close friend of one of the nursing home administrators, and they came up with the idea for the party. Kirkpatrick stopped in after the team's morning meeting and was inspired by Shafer's reaction.
"She was dancing the whole time I was in there," Kirkpatrick said. "Just to see the energy she had — that was such an amazing thing. I want to be that one day. I want to still be able to move and enjoy music the way she did."
REPLACING THE ONSIDE KICK
Football safety surveys have shown the onside kick to be one of the most dangerous plays. But it also can provide a last-ditch chance for a team to make a comeback, and the trickery of it is one of the more intriguing elements.
The Alliance of American Football, which kicks off its spring league the week after the Super Bowl in February, has an interesting replacement for the onside kick.
"We've replaced the onside kick with an onside conversion attempt," says Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, co-founder of the eight-team Alliance. "When teams are behind by 17 points or more or within five minutes remaining in the second half, after a touchdown or field goal, the trailing team can opt to receive the ball on their 28-yard line. They can attempt to convert a fourth-and-12. If they are successful and gain a first down, they keep the ball and can continue on. If they fail, the other team takes possession of the ball where it is spotted following the failed conversion attempt."
The league also has only a 2-point conversion attempt after touchdowns and will eliminate the PAT kick.
"That way, we eliminate block attempts that are not the safest plays in football," Polian explains.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt's family learned long ago to have fun with their last name.
His father, Rob, wore a Broncos jersey with the name "Head Butt" stitched across the back in Denver when his son made his NFL debut with two catches for 29 yards in the Broncos' win over Seattle.
Jake Butt, who sat out his rookie season after tearing up his right knee in his final game for Michigan, remembers asking his dad if he could change his name when he was younger.
"Shoot, I remember in kindergarten I would get terrorized, and that's like when you take everything personally," Butt says. "I hated the first-day-of-class roll call, because they'd always call out 'Butt.' I'd just get beet red and I'd come home to my dad and tell him that I wanted to change my last name.
"He'd laugh and tell me, 'You're going to have fun with this someday.' So, here we are. We're having a lot of fun with it."
Jake Butt didn't have to wait for adulthood for the teasing to stop.
"I was getting bigger than everybody, so I could just laugh at them, probably like seventh, eighth grade," he said.
He now stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 250 pounds, but would get heckled for his last name on the road in the Big Ten, too.
"Yeah, some Iowa fans got creative, like, 'Haha. Your last name's Butt.' I'm like, 'Man, that's not that creative. You've got to do better than that," Butt said. "Yeah, even away fans, they kind of have fun with it."
LEWIS ON LUKE
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis discovered at an early age that Luke Kuechly was a phenomenal athlete while watching him play summer lacrosse with his son, Marcus, growing up in Ohio.
And he has followed Kuechly's football career closely over the years at Boston College and now with the Carolina Panthers.
Lewis said before the 2012 NFL draft, he told Bengals owner Mike Brown that Kuechly was "the best collegiate linebacker I think I've ever seen." However, Kuechly never returned to his native Ohio because the Panthers took him 11th overall. The Bengals had the No. 17 pick.
"We're trying to clone guys like Luke Kuechly here," said Lewis, whose Bengals visit Kuechly and the Panthers on Sunday.
Kuechly played three years of lacrosse in high school, along with playing on travel teams. He said he didn't score many goals because — naturally — he played defense.
"I would get bored during the offseason if I wasn't doing something," said Kuechly, a four-time All-Pro. "I grew up playing basketball, football and lacrosse."
Louisiana native and Dolphins defensive tackle Davon Godchaux hosts his teammates on the defensive line for an evening of Cajun cuisine on occasion, serving them crawfish and barbecue.
He spares them one of his other favorite foods — raccoon.
"Tastes just like chicken," Godchaux said. "They'd probably be grossed out by that. But I'm from the Bayou. So that's what we eat."
Godchaux, who's 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, says his diet is healthy as well as tasty. His foundation, Chauxdown, supports the battle against obesity.
"Growing up as a child, you always want to eat right to get to this level," Godchaux said.
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Arnie Stapleton and Sports Writers Steven Wine, Joe Kay and Steve Reed contributed.
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