Jason Pierre-Paul is expected to be one of the first 10 picks in next month's NFL draft. But if professional football doesn't end up working out for the South Florida defensive end can always try his hand at gymnastics.
While at the NFL combine last weekend, Pierre-Paul boasted that he can do 23 back flips in a row. Video taken at a practice for last year's International Bowl confirms that Pierre-Paul can indeed be as much like Mary Lou Retton as he can Dwight Freeney(notes):
Though that video "only" showed 14 flips, Pierre-Paul can explain. The Tampa Tribune wrote that the athletic D-end told reporters:
"I can do 23 if I have to,'' Pierre-Paul said during a break between combine workouts. "I only did 14 that day because that's all I needed to do to beat (challenger and teammate) Kion Wilson. If Kion had somehow done 15, I would have done 23. I can do 23 no matter what - without stopping.''
We'll ignore the fact that Pierre-Paul went first in the bet and therefore couldn't have known how many flips his teammate would do. And we're ignoring said fact because Pierre-Paul measured 6-5, 270 pounds with 34-3/4 inch arms at the combine. If he wants to milk a story for effect, have at it.
Nobody measured Pierre-Paul's back flipping ability at the combine, of course. But when you think about it, why shouldn't they? Back flips are no more or less indicative of football talent than 40 times or shuttle runs or vertical jumps or intelligence tests.
Our hope is that Pierre-Paul scores a touchdown this season and then attempts to break his personal best of 23 flips during the celebration. Either that or lobbies to replace the pre-game coin toss with some good ol' rock-scissors-paper action.
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