Ickey Woods: ‘Fighting That Great Fight Every Day’

Ickey Woods played in the NFL for four years – a heck of a lot longer than most, but not as long as, say, the Peyton Mannings of the world. No matter. Woods still left his mark.

One of the top rushers in the NFL from 1988 to 1991, the former Cincinnati Bengals great gave us the famed “Ickey Shuffle” every time he scored a touchdown.

“I ran them over in the first half and ran around them in the second half,” Woods said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We had a great strategy. We had some fun. That was the most important thing. We had a lot of fun getting it done.”

Woods, who starred at UNLV, helped the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance after the 1988 season. A quarter of a century later, Woods dusted off the mothballs of his famous dance for a GEICO commercial, which is becoming quite the YouTube sensation.

“I’m glad it can get me back into the spotlight and that way it can help my son’s foundation get up and going,” Woods said. “I lost him four years ago to asthma, so we started a foundation called the Jovante Woods Foundation.”

Woods travels around the country raising money for asthma research and asthma education.

“It’s a deadly disease that I didn’t know could kill until it took my son from me,” Woods explained. “Now I’m trying to get out there and crusade so it won’t happen to other people and not have people lose a loved one that I had to suffer.”

Woods’ son was a standout football player at Princeton High School in Cincinnati. He was penciled in as the team’s starting cornerback when he passed away in the summer of 2010 after having an asthma attack at home.

“It was horrible,” Woods said. “It was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t know asthma could kill until it took my baby away from me. And now I’m fighting that great fight every day trying to make sure that a lot of families don’t have to go through the pain and suffering that we went through. What I didn’t realize is asthma is the fastest-growing diseases in America, but (there’s so little money donated to research to cure it or find better ways to treat it).

“We took that on,” Woods continued. “We’ve been able to raise over $50,000 for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital asthma research division, and we’ve given away over $20,000 in scholarships as well. So we’re doing some great things with the foundation, but we’re along ways from where we need to be. We need all the help we can get from all the great people. When we got a whole lot of people giving a little bit, it adds up to a lot.”

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