Elbert “Ickey” Woods, former NFL fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals, will conduct the coin toss for the Ripley Vikings as they play their first home game of the season at today on brand-new turf at Memorial Stadium.
Jeff Scott, safety supervisor at Penske Logistics and former Viking footballer, arranged the visit by the man who brought the world the “Ickey Shuffle.”
“I called him and he said, you know, ‘Make it worth my time,’” Scott said.
But Wood’s wasn’t looking for personal gain. He operates the Javonte Woods Foundation, which helps people like his son, Javonte, who suffer from Asthma.
“I actually got Constellium to donate $1,000 to the Javonte Woods Foundation and they will be there to present him with a check on Friday night. I’m currently looking for other local businesses to help us raise money for asthma awareness as well,” Scott said.
Scott, who a few years ago brought Michael Johnson to a Ripley Vikings game, wanted to do something again for the team. After praying about it, Scott decided to reach out to Woods, whom he had first met from being around Cincinnati for work.
“When I called the foundation, it went straight to his cell phone. When I got to talk to him, he just said let me check my schedule to see what’s going on,” Scott said. “He’s a stand up gentleman. He’s a very nice guy. For him to come here to our little town, and meet and greet some people and being who he is, it’s a blessing to have him here.”
Scott said he believes Woods will meet with the Vikings before their game against Riverside for a pep talk.
“How often in a little town like this does a team get an NFL starter to come in to the locker room and give them a pep talk. I know they put their pants on the same way we do, but this guy played in the Superbowl,” Scott said.
Two years ago, Scott got former Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson to come down for a visit.
“I called his football camp and talked to his mother for about two hours. His mother!,” Scott said.
“I ended up asking how much it would take for him to come down and talk to the guys. She said let me check and get back to you. She called me back two weeks later and said he was willing to come. I asked how much it would be and she said it’s not going to cost anything. Just provide him a place to stay,” Scott said.
“I went around and got donations from people in the area and had enough money to pay for his meals for two days. He didn’t ask for that, but we wanted to do it. The cash I gave to him for gas, he didn’t want to take it,” Scott said. “What a chance for the kids to meet an active NFL player. This guy is 6-8 and 300 pounds.”