A few years ago, Alex Collins was practically on top of the world.
The former Razorback running back had completed a standout college career in which he became only the third player in SEC history to open his career with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons on the ground, joining former Hog Darren McFadden and Georgia great Herschel Walker on the prestigious list.
Then, two years, into an NFL career, Collins was enjoying a breakout season. Halfway through the fall of 2017, he was leading the NFL in average yards per carry as a Baltimore Raven.
In all, the Florida native rushed for nearly 1,000 yards, racking up 4.6 yards per carry and six touchdowns.
On top of that, he became a media darling as word his unusual training methods emerged. Since at least 2016, Collins had been using Irish dancing for more quickness and foot speed.
“It’s definitely made me a lot more explosive, and I want to give all the credit to the Irish dancing, because of having to be on my toes the entire time, and bouncing around,” he says on the talk show below.
“It’s so tiring and I drop a sweat every time. I feel a lot more explosive, I’m coming out of my cuts a lot, I’m making a lot more guys miss out there on the field.”
“With the Irish dance, some people might make fun of me. Or listening to country music and being out there at the concerts, it might not be where people expect to see me,” he told the Baltimore Sun. “But I enjoy it, experiencing new cultures. I’m just always chasing new experiences. Just the thought and possibility of, ‘Could I be able to do it?’ is enough to make me want to see if I could be great at something.”
In fact, Baltimore was so behind the idea of Collins tippity toeing around opposing linebackers that they sponsored a trip for Alex to Ireland itself:
In 2018, though, Collins’ lucky shamrock started wilting.
As the Ravens’ starting tailback, he ran for only 3.6 yards a carry, putting up 411 yards on the season before a foot injury sidelined him in early December.
Then, just a few months later, he was arrested on narcotics and gun charges in the Baltimore area after wrecking his Chevy Corvette in a ditch.
According to the police report and the video below, Collins said he was taking a friend home when he wrecked, then casually fell asleep at the wheel waiting for the AAA to arrive.
The police smelled marijuana and searched the vehicle, finding approximately five ounces of marijuana (more than 14 times the amount considered personal use) and a handgun. So ensued a sad/funny game of “He owns it, no he owns it” between Alex and his friend:
While there was plenty of tsk-tsking about Collins’ giant jug of weed here, it should be noted that many NFL players smoke marijuana or vape CBD to help soothe pain from lingering injuries.
There is some evidence from research that it helps to increase the sports performance.
Marijuana has more than 100 compounds called cannabinoids and THC & CBD are the major ones. THC is psychoactive and CBD or cannabidiol is used as medical treatment. It can be consumed by smoking, edibles, capsules, and even vaping. Many vape stores like www.smokingthings.com offer different kinds of e-liquids for vape devices. (There are at least 12 vape stores in Fayetteville, Ark. alone.)
Soon after the arrest, the Ravens released Collins.
Then, his luck got even worse. In summer 2019, Alex Collins broke his leg. He had to sit out the entire 2019 season while rehabbing.
No doubt, this was the low point of his career so far.
“This past year has been a challenging one for me, but has also allowed me to look within and grow as a person,” he wrote on Instagram. “God has a plan for all of us and right now that includes me using what I’ve learned through every experience and pressing forward to the road ahead.”
“Two weeks ago I broke a bone in my leg and I underwent successful surgery. I refuse to be discouraged. Instead, I have faith and am optimistic about the process. I believe that all that has happened is making me physically and emotionally stronger, and is necessary for me to succeed in life.”
“I have already begun the healing and rehab process, and I fully trust God’s plan for me. I look forward to getting back to playing football and doing what I love most. Thank you for everyone who has supported me. I’ll be back Irish dancing soon ☘️”
Collins seems to be making good on that promise.
His latest Instagram updates show him working out like a fiend in Florida, looking as fit and strong as ever. Perhaps, if the NFL season actually happens, some team will take a chance on the soon-to-be 26 year old as a backup.
But if that doesn’t work out, Collins always has a career on Broadway to fall back on.
Watch this guy get down:
Alex Collins career statistics as a Razorback (2013-2015)
-Ranks second all-time in program history in career yards rushing (3,703) and 100-yard games (17)
-Ranks fourth all-time in touchdowns rushing (36)
-In 2015, finished season ranked third in the SEC in rushing yards (1,577; 12th in FBS), touchdowns rushing (20; T-6th in FBS) and yards per game (121.31; 12th in FBS)
-That season, was honored as Associated Press Second Team All-SEC and Athlon Third Team All-American