Thrillseeker Jason Babin zip-lines over gators

Tue, Feb 15

By YouTube standards the clip is hardly an internet sensation. It lasts just eight seconds and only recently surpassed 500 views.

"Charlie Bit My Finger" still does 500 views in its sleep.

But what could have happened to Jason Babin was much worse than a nibble from a toddler when the Pro Bowl defensive end of the Tennessee Titans zip-lined over a pond filled with about 300 alligators.

The derring-do took place last summer. The Titans signed Babin to a one-year, $1 million deal in March 2010. He was a veteran who came cheap; no one saw him having a career year and posting 12.5 sacks.

It's not likely anyone from the Titans saw the video before the start of the season. And to be honest, at the time Babin performed the stunt, he was a career journeyman. He never had more than five sacks in his first six NFL seasons.

So what was he doing? His kids were fans of the show "Gator 911" which aired on CMT last year; the show featured Gary Saurage and his park, Gator Country, in Beaumont, Texas. Babin has a ranch in Texas, and he said it wasn't too far from Gator Country. So his agent called Saurage, and the Babins were on their way.

"Gary was thrilled to have me out there," said Babin, who added that CMT had not renewed the show so the segment featuring him has never aired. "I had a blast. They were wrestling alligators, the kids held snakes and other reptiles."

OK, so it might be a fun time for the kids. But zip-lining over a pond full of hungry gators? Turns out, he was in front of an audience and it was time to put up or shut up.

"Gary says, 'Wanna see Jason zip-line across the pond?' The second time he said it, I was like, 'There's no way in hell I'm gonna do it.' When I realized he was serious, I didn't have a choice. I couldn't wince with all of the people watching. I just had to man up real fast."

One man's crazy is another man's thrill.

"I'm an adventurous person," Babin said. "When I was in Hawaii [for the Pro Bowl], we went skydiving and I was surfing these ridiculous waves. That's the kind of person I am.

"I think the Titans realize if I kill myself they don't have to pay me. It makes me who I am on Sunday."