How Kyler Gordon works ballet background into football


For years, football players of all shapes and sizes have gotten into ballet to help develop their game. The precise footwork and balance required in the studio directly translates to the same skills on the field. But for Kyler Gordon, the Bears’ first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the transition went the other way around.

“My mom actually got me into (dance) at a young age, so I did that for a while” Gordon said. “It was the first competitive anything I ever did. I would just go around the whole country just doing a bunch of competitions. I was competitive. Went to nationals. Did all that. The lyrical, ballet, hip hop, all that.”

Gordon is thankful that his mom put him into dance, because when he finally got into football he already had a built in skillset, and work ethic.

“Honestly it just takes a lot of consistency, a lot of dedication,” Gordon said. “Not only do you go there and do the practicing and all that, but as far as going home and stretching and being that flexible and having that core strength and how strict, honestly, a lot of teachers are in how they want you to perfect your craft and whatever choreography that may be.

“I just remember going through it. It's tough. They just demand perfection. I got a little bit of that in me, too, just trying to do what I do and perfect my craft.”

That background will help Gordon in Matt Eberflus’ defense, as it’s been noted many times how much he demands from his players. In a hustle oriented program, Eberflus expects players to run hard and focus intensely on every single rep. That can be tiring both mentally and physically.

Going back to how the dance helps Gordon on the field, Bears scout Francis St. Paul says the ballet background shows up on tape.

“You see in his balance,” said St. Paul. “You see it in his change of direction. He ran a 6.67 three-cone, and the most impressive part about it, he was stumbling and pulled out of that stumble and to finish with that time, which if he didn’t stumble that time would have been amazing.”

It won’t take long for Gordon to show off his smooth moves at Halas Hall. Rookie minicamp begins May 6.

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