NEW ORLEANS -- Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara didn’t necessarily invent the “Fleur-de-Leap.” But it has evolved into the signature celebration of their historic 2017 season: leaping into the stands to celebrate with the fans.
Kamara might have been the first to do it inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season. But Ingram did it first on the road at Lambeau Field. Obviously, the Green Bay Packers were doing it long before the New Orleans Saints turned it into a growing tradition of their own.
But no one is trying to be anointed a pioneer here. They’re just having an awful lot of fun.
“I think that’s gonna be our thing. Shoot, I hope everybody [starts doing it],” said Kamara, who has made it his standard celebration after every touchdown or two-point conversion, including the time last month when he climbed all the way into the stands and started dancing as a fan embraced him.
“I don’t know [what inspired it],” Kamara said. “I was just like, ‘Man, I’m about to go up here.’ It was just lit. The Dome was rocking. And I was like, ‘Man, I’m about to jump up in the stands.’”
Ingram climbed all the way in a couple weeks ago, too. Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. added his own twist when he handled the ball to a baby.
The name “Fleur-de-Leap” came from someone on Twitter -- a play on the iconic New Orleans fleur-de-lis symbol that adorns the Saints' helmets -- and Kamara said it stuck.
“It’s a high wall, though. I can’t lie,” Kamara said. “I don’t know if everybody can get up there. But I think it’s cool. It’s just another way to interact with the fans.”
The Saints tracked down five of the fans who got to celebrate with players for a recent video on their website, including a man from Baton Rouge, Todd Fruge, who is battling cancer and got a much-needed pick-me-up when Ingram saw him in a Saints jersey and targeted him after a touchdown in Green Bay. Fruge later got to come to Saints practice and got a signed jersey and the touchdown ball.
"That was special," said Ingram, who enjoyed hearing the story of a child he leaped toward in Buffalo who happened to be a big fan of his.
Ingram also said his celebrations aren’t usually planned.
“I think that’s more of Alvin’s thing, jumping in there. I just kind of just go with the moment. If I’m feeling it, I jump up there," Ingram said. "I think Ted jumped up there, too. It just brings a lot of energy to the crowd. They get excited. We’re excited, obviously. So it’s just a pretty cool thing.
“Alvin stepped it up a notch when he got in the stands and started partying. So I think everybody wants to have a little fun like that.”
The only drawback is that height.
Sean Payton was joking -- but only a little -- when he suggested that the Saints need to put it on Superdome manager Doug Thornton’s to-do list to lower the walls behind the end zone, which are currently around 9 feet tall.
“Maybe pad it, maybe kind of make it like a [John] Kuhn wall,” Payton said of the Saints’ 35-year-old fullback. “If Kuhn can get up and into the fans, then [it’s safe].”
Ingram laughed when he heard Payton’s suggestion. But he and Kamara both insisted that their teammates are always there to catch them if needed.
“It’s all fun, man,” Ingram said. “We’re out here having a good time. As long as we’re scoring touchdowns and winning games.”