Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been starring in a viral video since about halfway through Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the second quarter of the AFC North game, Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell turned a short pass into a 42-yard gain. Along his way to Cincinnati’s 17-yard line, Bell delivered a knockdown stiff-arm to Kirkpatrick, who bounced off the turf like a soccer ball.
“Man, hey, it happened man,” Kirkpatrick told Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I embraced it, you know? I got to make that tackle, but I got to embrace it, look at what happened, face the facts. This is what happened. If I take it to heart, people going to see you in the community, this and that, if you take it to heart it brings you distraction because the next week, guess what you going to be worried about? ‘I don’t want this play to happen again.’
“It’s football. I give my heart. I give my all. If that happened, it happened.”
The shoe could be on the other foot, Kirkpatrick said, when the Bengals play the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
“It goes the other way,” Kirkpatrick said. “When I’m locking guys down, guys ain’t catching the ball, guys ain’t having great games against me — it’s the same thing. It’s just football.”
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Kirkpatrick was a two-time All-State player, the 2008 Class 6A Back of the Year and a Parade and U.S. Army All-American for Gadsden City.
After playing for Alabama‘s BCS national-championship teams in 2009 and 2011, Kirkpatrick was the 17th player picked in the 2012 NFL Draft. He became a full-time starter for the Bengals in 2015.
The Bengals made the playoffs in Kirkpatrick’s first five seasons, but missed the postseason with a 6-9-1 record in 2016. Cincinnati has a 2-4 mark heading into a noon CDT kickoff against the visiting Colts on Sunday. Indianapolis has a 2-5 record with the victories coming against the NFL teams that haven’t won this season – the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.