Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant is set to appear on American Ninja Warrior this week as he runs through a qualification course. CLICK HERE to see a sneak peek or watch the video below:
As you can see, current Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell, and some Eagles cheerleaders showed up to root on Philly’s former trusty slot receiver.
Avant’s full run will air this Monday, June 25 at 9:00 PM Eastern on NBC. If there’s part of the course where he has to make a crazy catch (I don’t think there is), he’s winning this thing for sure.
Q: WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE ON AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR?
AVANT: You know what, I’ve always seen the show. I’ve been a faithful watcher of it for so long. When I got a call and they said ‘We need someone for the Philadelphia Eagles’ and I said, you know what, if you guys think I can do it, I believe I can do it. So I started training as best as I could. And it’s great having some great ninjas in the Philadelphia area, got in contact with them, and here I am! I’m nervous, but I’m excited at the same time. And I hope you guys didn’t make the course too hard for me, a first-timer. [laughs]
Q: SO, THEN, YOU’VE BEEN TRAINING WITH A BUNCH OF NINJAS. WHO’VE YOU BEEN TRAINING WITH?
AVANT: So mainly Najee Richardson and Chris Wilczewski. I’m trying my best to learn as much as I can. It’s a bunch of other ninjas, [too.] We train at the Movement Lab and The Gravity Forge. So, we try our best.
Q: WHICH OBSTACLES MAKE YOU A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS NOW THAT YOU’VE STARTED TRAINING?
AVANT: Uh, Salmon Ladders always because trying to shake the bar and the edges, trying to make sure the bar doesn’t slide off. Anything that has to do with prolonged, like, sustaining power. Any type of long-winded type of obstacle. Those are hard because in football everything is explosive energy. So it’s not holding your strength or body weight for prolonged periods of time. If it’s like quick and explosive, I should be good, but long longevity, I don’t necessarily know if I have it. [laughs]
Q: WHICH OF YOUR FOOTBALL SKILLS DO YOU THINK WILL HELP YOU ON THE COURSE?
AVANT: Uh ... I don’t know. Mainly, if I can somehow get to the Warped Wall, being a little bit taller than most ninjas, and having very powerful legs ... but usually the legs don’t correlate in these obstacles unless you’re doing like some sort of lache technique where you generate more power. So I’m good at that type of thing, generating power with my legs.
Q: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RUN THE COURSE HERE IN PHILLY WHERE YOU PLAYED FOOTBALL?
AVANT: Oh, it means a bunch to me. I was like, man, I’m going to be in front of a home crowd. It’s a lot of pressure though! I’ll say that. [laughs] But it’s exciting. The city’s on fire because the Eagles won the Super Bowl. I’m excited to represent the organization and and Philadelphia. And, you know what, I’m just excited about it. It means a bunch to me. And I know how passionate the city is. Hopefully I can represent well.
Q: EMOTIONALLY, HOW DOES TODAY FEEL SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT BEFORE THE DAY OF A BIG GAME?
AVANT: This is a little bit different for me because during the big game, I’ve been playing football since I was young. So you get that familiar experience with football. Also I had a week of training as far as knowing the game plan and different things like that. These ninjas have been training for years and I’ve basically had like three weeks. So I feel a little bit under-prepared. So I’m more nervous than I would be in a football game. It’s like a kid that’s studied for the test. They’re going to be more confident. I’m a little bit more nervous. I’m just hoping I can use some athleticism that can equate to American Ninja Warrior.
Q: WHAT STRATEGIES DO YOU USE TO HELP GET THE NERVES DOWN BEFORE A BIG GAME OR RUNNING THE COURSE?
AVANT: I sing a lot, so, that’s the thing, I sing songs in my head. I also pray a bunch. So those are the strategies that I do. You may see me on camera singing a little song or something. It kind of calms me, makes me think of happy thoughts. Or pray, and I’m usually fine.
Q: THAT’S AWESOME
AVANT: [laughs] Yeah.
Q: SO WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS FOR YOURSELF FOR WHEN YOU GET ON THE COURSE?
AVANT: [exasperated noise] That’s a hard question. I’m going to take one step at a time. And I’m going to try to concentrate as hard as I can on each obstacle. Everyone wants to finish the course, and I want to finish the course, but I know I can’t finish the course unless I focus on each obstacle and give it the respect and the attention that it deserves. And that’s my goal: to focus on each obstacle as best as I can. And we’ll see where that takes me.
Q: DO YOU THINK YOU’LL CONTINUE NINJA TRAINING AFTER THIS?
AVANT: I definitely will! I told [Najee Richardson] the other day that ‘you guys got me hooked.’ I’ve got to become vegan to lose over 35 pounds. So I think I can, and I’ll be doing it again.