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Ickey Woods is pretty excited. The former Cincinnati Bengals running back has become one of the team’s biggest fans during its improbable run through the NFL playoffs.

Woods, who played for the Bengals for four seasons, has been riding with this team all year. During a recent appearance on Doug Flutie’s Flutie Flakescast podcast, Woods couldn’t stop raving about the present and future of the young Bengals. He’s already comparing second-year quarterback Joe Burrow to big-time stars like Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Ickey Woods took the NFL by storm as a rookie in 1988

Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Ickey Woods (30) on the stage after the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 30, 2022, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. | Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

Although he played four years of college football at UNLV, Woods didn’t burst onto the scene until his senior year. In that fourth season, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound running back rushed for 1,658 yards and 10 touchdowns. He racked up 6.4 yards per carry, and the Bengals selected him in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft.

Woods started 10 games as a rookie and took the NFL by storm. He rushed for 1,066 yards on just 203 carries. He led the league by averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Woods finished with 15 rushing touchdowns and also had 21 catches for 199 yards.

With each touchdown, came the “Ickey Shuffle,” a dance he made wildly popular. Woods helped the Bengals reach the Super Bowl, where they lost 20-16 to the San Francisco 49ers. He was the game’s leading rusher with 79 yards.

The following year, Woods tore his ACL in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season. He was never the same.

In 1990, he rushed 64 times for 268 yards as a backup to Harold Green. In 1991, he missed the first half of the season when he suffered a preseason knee injury. He finished his career with 1,525 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Ickey Woods puts Joe Burrow in the same sentence with Michael Jordan and LeBron James

Woods remains popular with the Bengals fan base. He continues to attend their games and was even at the podium during the trophy presentation after the AFC title game.

Woods is hyped up about his former team’s Super Bowl chances. He’s animated, and he’s excited. Even more so than being pumped for Sunday’s game, Woods is thrilled about their future, especially with Burrow running the show for the foreseeable future.

“He’s got the ‘it’ factor,” he said on the Flutie Flakescast podcast in January. “You know what I mean when I say that ‘it’ factor, man. It’s just that unexplainable factor that these guys have like Michael Jordan had, like LeBron James has.

“He’s just got that ‘it,’ and he’s got that leader quality to him, too. Just to be a second-year player, Doug, that’s unbelievable. He’s got that unbelievable confidence that you must have being that ‘it’ type of guy.

“We’re loving it down here in Cincinnati.”

Woods happy to bring the Ickey Shuffle back to life

When the Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders in the first week of the postseason, it was the first playoff game in 31 years the Bengals won. It brought back a lot of memories. It also brought back the Ickey Shuffle.

“Yeah, man, it was great to see the guys pay tribute to me,” Woods said. “When we had our first game in the Jungle, they made me the Ruler of the Jungle, so I got to get out there in shuffle form, get the fans going, and get the Jungle rocking again.

“When (C.J.) Uzomah scored his first touchdown, he did a tribute to me, doing the Ickey Shuffle, man, which was unbelievable. It just kind of warms your heart, Doug. It was wonderful to see and even more enjoyable to get the win and get that 31-year monkey off our back.”

The Bengals are back, the Ickey Shuffle is back, and all is right in Cincinnati.


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