Alex Collins, a running back and fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2016 who became something of a fan favorite due to his love of Irish dancing and incorporating that into his touchdown celebrations, has died.
Both the Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens, the two NFL teams for which Collins played, announced his death Monday afternoon.
According to WPLG television in Miami, Collins died in a motorcycle crash Sunday evening at Lauderdale Lakes, Florida.
Collins was 28.
“Absolutely heartbroken,” a tweet from the Seahawks read. “Prayers are with the Collins family.”
Several of Collins’ Seattle teammates also reacted on social media.
“Life so crazy man,” tweeted quarterback Geno Smith. “Fly high my boy until we meet again.”
Tweeted fellow running back Rashaad Penny: “AK, I’m heartbroken.”
Collins’ agent, Kelli Masters, also acknowledged his death on Twitter, stating: “As many of you have now heard, Alex Collins passed away this morning. My heart is broken, and I am just at a loss. Alex you were so loved by so many. You impacted lives with your joy and positive, caring spirit…and that big smile. I was so honored to be your agent.”
Collins played in 11 games with 125 yards rushing as a rookie in 2016 for the Seahawks before being waived the following year and spending two seasons with Baltimore.
Collins, who had starred at Arkansas where he became only the third running back in SEC history to begin his career with three straight 1,000-yard seasons, had his best NFL season with the Ravens in 2017 with 973 yards.
He returned to the Seahawks in 2020 and played three games that season and then 11 more in 2021 with Seattle. He was Seattle’s second-leading rusher that year with 411 yards and two touchdowns, which included a 101-yard effort in a Sunday night game at Pittsburgh.
Collins, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was the active career leader in SEC rushing yards when he left Arkansas after the 2015 season with 3,703 yards.
Collins was the 171st overall selection in the 2016 draft.
He immediately became a fan favorite with his tales of taking up Irish dancing as a way to stay in shape in preparation for the draft.
“My little sister, she does Irish dance,” Collins explained on draft day. “She kind of challenged me to get into it. I thought ‘why not? I have some time on my hands and I can give it a go.’ She got me in to it and I tried it out and I ended up really liking it.”
Collins explained he took on the alias of Mitchell Findley as a an homage to his new dancing hobby.
“It originated from Michael Flatley, professional Irish dancer,” Collins said. “When I got in to it, I wanted to watch the best and learn from him. I watched “Lord of the Dance” on YouTube a few times, and kind of got it from there.”
Collins later incorporated the dancing into his touchdown celebrations, continuing to use it throughout his career to stay in shape.
“I’m always on my toes and my lower body, my calf muscles and what not,” he said in 2016. “It’s a lot of fun working with them and learning something new, especially since I didn’t think I could do it.”
Collins was not re-signed by the Seahawks after becoming a free agent following the
His 2021 season ended when he was placed on injured reserve with an abdomen injury on Jan. 4, 2022, before Seattle’s final game of the season..
He had not been on an NFL roster since 2021 but played this spring with the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League, rushing for 98 yards on 33 carries before being placed on injured reserve in May.