Running back Jacques Patrick made a quite a debut when he joined the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020. That is, in the rookie talent show.
Patrick was looking for a unique act and some of his teammates had made note of his resemblance to rap star 50 Cent. So Patrick sprung into action.
“I was like, ‘I got to do something they remember,’’’ Patrick said. “So I had seen one of his videos and I dressed in an identical outfit and performed one of his songs in the team meeting room and everybody went crazy.”
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Patrick dressed up in boots, jeans, a tank top and a doo rag and performed “Many Men (Wish Death).” Perhaps influenced by the quality of the gig, someone wrote on Patrick’s Wikipedia page that he is “the nephew” of 50 Cent, and it remains there.
Patrick doesn’t know where that entry came from and said he is not related to 50 Cent and never has met him. He has seen him in concert twice in addition to saying he got “raving reviews” for his impersonation three years ago.
As for his reviews on the field in the NFL, they haven’t been as good. Patrick between 2020-22 had two stints with the Bengals and stops with San Francisco, Carolina and Baltimore. But he never has gotten into a regular-season game and has spent plenty of time on practice squads.
Yet now Patrick has another chance. He has been invited to the Broncos’ rookie minicamp, which runs Friday through Sunday, as a veteran tryout player.
The invitation comes on the heels of a strong season by Patrick in the XFL for the San Antonio Brahmas. He was second in the spring league in rushing with 443 yards on 115 carries for a 3.9-yard average and first among running backs in receiving with 30 catches for 238 yards.
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“It’s a chance to go out there and show the ability I’ve been blessed with, so I’m excited for it,’’ he said. “It’s an opportunity to get back to the NFL. I feel like I’ve worked hard and I belong.”
Patrick, a native of Orlando, Fla., was a highly regarded high-school prospect who signed with Florida State in 2015. He played behind current Minnesota Vikings star Dalvin Cook his first two seasons and then in his final two years got more work but still not as much as current Los Angeles Rams back Cam Akers. Still, Patrick gained 1,790 yards in his college career and averaged a solid 4.9 yards per carry.
It wasn’t enough for the 6-foot-2, 234 pound Patrick to get drafted, and then he went from city to city to begin his NFL career. But Patrick, 26, believes he’s a better player than before and that he showed it in the XFL.
“I got a chance to show my versatility throughout the season, and I feel I did the things I needed to accomplish,’’ he said. “It felt good to get decent carries. It just felt like riding a bike again.”
Patrick, a big back who is not shy to run over defenders, said he does not have a lot of wear and tear on his body because of his limited action in recent years. And he said it should help at the minicamp that he’s fresh off a season that ended April 22 for the Brahmas.
“I’m in good shape,’’ he said.
Patrick is trying out for a team that didn’t select a running back in the recent NFL draft and could be looking to add a veteran due to starter Javonte Williams still recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last October. General manager George Paton said he doesn’t know when Williams will return but expects him to play at some point in 2023.
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For spring drills, the top running back on the depth chart will be Samaji Perine, who played the past three seasons for the Bengals and had Patrick some of the time as a teammate. Patrick is hopeful he can hook on with the Broncos in a quest to provide depth. The first day XFL players can sign with NFL teams is next Monday.
“Every opportunity I get, I’m looking to take full advantage of,’’ Patrick said. “It’s a good opportunity.”
Patrick will arrive in Denver on Thursday in preparation for the minicamp. He wouldn’t be surprised if someone asks him about being the nephew of 50 Cent.
“I don’t know where that came from but people have asked me about it so many times,’’ he said. “One of these days, I’m just going to say, ‘That’s my uncle.’’’