David Njoku is a tremendous athlete. He plays football for a living so he has to be, but the Cleveland Browns tight end is agile even by professional standards. At the 2017 NFL Draft combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds and recorded a vertical leap of 37.5 inches. That’s spritely! Despite his impressive abilities, Njoku cannot fly, though he appeared to be struck with a flush of optimism on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals when he tried to leap over a safety from around the 5-yard line and into the end zone. He had no chance, and the defender cradled Njoku like a torn bag of groceries. The play should have ended right there, in embarrassment, but it instead resulted in a touchdown and gave the Browns a 21-0 first-half lead.
Olympic hurdling isn’t for everyone, but the move has become perplexingly popular in the NFL in recent seasons. Not only is it a go-to for running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, but even an earthbound quarterback like Josh Allen has tried his luck. It will eventually result in disaster—you can count on that—but that day has yet to arrive. Njoku’s failed attempt should have served as a reminder that gravity still exists, but Browns center J.C. Tretter was on hand to help shove him into the end zone and spare the tight end’s blushes.
No lessons were learned on Sunday. The leaping will undoubtedly continue.