Jerome Simpson came out of the tunnel and ran on to the field wearing a Santa hat on Saturday.
Then he showed that he doesn’t need reindeer to fly.
Go ahead and give him his ESPY for “Play of the Year” right now, because nobody is going to top the Simpson Somersault.
With the Bengals leading 10-0 late in the second quarter, Simpson caught a pass from Andy Dalton on a crossing route at the 17 yard line and sprinted for the end zone. When Jerome reached the two yard line, Dalton’s former college teammate Daryl Washington was waiting, so Simpson did a forward-flip over him and landed on both feet.
“To tell you the truth, it was just instinct,” said Simpson. “I saw the guy and it seemed like he was going to try to hit me and I really didn’t want to get hit, so I used my athletic ability and my jumping ability that my mom, dad, and family blessed me with. I’ve jumped over a guy before, but I never done a flip like that and landed it. I just wanted to do anything possible to win games for this team”
Simpson’s freakish athletic ability helps explain why the Bengals drafted him in the second round out of tiny Coastal Carolina in 2008. In addition to scoring 44 touchdowns in 45 college games, Jerome set school records in the high jump at 6’8.75” (since broken) and long jump at 24’7.25”.
But to vault over a 6’2” linebacker while wearing football pads?
“It was unbelievable,” said Adam Jones. “I mean head first? I was like, ‘There’s no way he’s going to try that.’”
“It might be one of the most athletic plays I’ve ever seen in my life man,” said Jeromy Miles. “I didn’t think he was going to land on his feet, but when he did, it just summed up the day for us – spectacular plays, spectacular moments.”
“I give him a 10 out of 10,” said Andre Smith. “I liked the landing – that was pretty neat.”
“I stuck the landing like a gymnast, and a lot of guys said that they gave me a 10 on it,” said Simpson. “I think it was a 9 because I touched the ground a little bit. I just wanted to make plays for my team and have a great Merry Christmas.”
Of course, the person who had the best view of “Jumpin’ Jerome” was the player that he hurdled. So what did Daryl Washington have to say about the play?
“He said, ‘Don’t jump over me like that again.’” said Simpson with a smile. “But like I said before, I just want to do anything possible to help my team win.”
I’d love to hear from you at Dan.Hoard@bengals.nfl.net
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