Did you know there used to be a street named Kiko Alonso, but its name was changed because nobody crosses Kiko Alonso and lives?
Or that when the Buffalo Bills win the Super Bowl, they won’t visit the White House? Instead, President Barack Obama will visit Kiko’s house.
If you didn’t, then you might not be aware of #TheLegendofKikoAlonso.
For those not on Twitter, that’s the hash tag (think of it as a search tool) that’s been wildly popular for the past couple weeks among fans of the Buffalo Bills’ rookie linebacker. The above two examples, courtesy of Twitter users @JGMcD2 and @TobyMotyka, respectively, are among dozens of such whimsical myths.
“The Legend” continues to grow, although Alonso himself is largely unaware of it – almost blissfully so (for what it’s worth, he is on Twitter, @Kiko__Alonso, but isn’t very active – tweeting only once since June).
“A couple people were telling me about it,” he said. “I was just laughing.”
While the boasts about Alonso have been plenty of fun (@jmadigan0408: Kiko Alonso told Miley Cyrus to stop. She did.) they’re rooted in the Oregon product’s start to his career. Alonso is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with four and is fifth in tackles with 44 (first among rookies).
“When he came in, right away it was like he’s moving a lot faster than everybody else,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “Our expectations are high and we’re excited about him. He’s actually getting better and better each week, too, all little things that maybe people can’t see.”
Alonso has filled the highlight reel in the first five games. His diving interception in Week Four, for example, secured a victory against the defending Super Bowl champions.
“I mean, he’s amazing,” said fellow linebacker Manny Lawson. “To be young and coming into this league, he’s not necessarily just making a name for himself – he’s making a statement. He plays every snap. He covers sideline to sideline. He’ll rush, he’ll drop and I know he’ll hit you. He’s a playmaker in every sense.
“He’s a little soft-spoken, but it’s a lot of fun being out there with him, especially now that he’s starting to open up a little bit more.”
Lawson doesn’t have a Twitter account, but he had even heard of “The Legend.”
“Did you start that?” he asked Alonso, who has the locker next to his.
“Heck no,” Alonso shot back.
“I don’t really think about that at all,” Alonso said of so quickly becoming a fan favorite. “It doesn’t affect anything that I do. It’s great to get support, but it doesn’t change anything.”
That support can even be seen on T-shirts. A pair of “Alonso” themed shirts have been created by local companies, each with either all or a portion of the proceeds going to charity.
The first, by store716.com, features the words “The Legend of Kiko” and a standing red buffalo with the number 50 on a blue shirt. For each shirt sold, store716.com donates $5 to Roswell Park.
The second shirt, which is being sold through the website teespring.com, features the number 50 in a charging red buffalo on the front, with the word “Legend” on the back over the number 50. All proceeds from the limited-edition sale of that shirt – which will end Thursday – are being donated to amcsupport.org, a charity that provides support for children born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, a congenital disorder characterized by multiple join contractures (when a joint becomes permanently fixed in a bent or straight position).
The non-profit Buffalo FAMbase Inc. has been marketing the shirt on its popular Twitter feed, @TheBillsMafia, an unaffiliated fan club of sorts for the team that has nearly 20,000 followers.
“It’s fun. I think Bills fans deserve it. We don’t always get the ‘Ws,’ but at least we’re getting to enjoy this,” said Del Reid, one of the co-founders of ‘The Mafia.’ “Even the most cynical fans, they’re all in for this guy.”
The Bills continued to tweak the bottom of their 53-man roster Tuesday by signing linebacker Ty Powell and cornerback Brandon Smith. To make room for them, the team released linebacker Marcus Dowtin and cornerback Johnny Adams.
Powell, 25, was signed off the New York Giants’ practice squad. The 6-foot-2, 249-pounder entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in April. He was released prior to the start of the regular season and has spent time on the practice squad for both Seattle and the Giants. He started his collegiate career at DeAnza College and finished it at Harding.
Smith, 26, is a converted wide receiver who joined the team’s practice squad Sept. 10 after being released by Green Bay on Sept. 10. The 6-1, 205-pounder originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers in 2011.
Dowtin, 24, has played in all five games this season in a reserve role on defense, making six tackles. He also made four tackles on special teams. Adams, 24, has played sparingly in a reserve role the last four games after joining the active roster prior to Week Two, but did not record any statistics.
The Bills also added quarterback Dennis Dixon, who worked out for the team Sunday, to the practice squad. Dixon, 28, has four years of NFL experience, but has only appeared in four games in that time, and none since 2010 – when he made two starts for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He has completed 35-of-59 passes for 402 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. The 6-3, 215-pound Oregon product entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick of the Steelers in 2008. He spent the 2012 season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad and training camp this season with the Philadelphia Eagles before being released prior to the regular season.