- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Joseph Fauria practiced the dance in the mirror just in case he was going to use it in a game. He had the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake YouTube video, and wanted to make sure he was prepared if he could try it out.
Then came Sunday, a touchdown against Washington and a celebration that could turn the Detroit Lions tight end into a minor celebrity. Fauria did a quick version of the 'N Sync dance to the song "Bye Bye Bye" after he scored, and caught the attention of the band -- and of Fallon.
On "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" early Wednesday morning, Fallon came through on his promise to donate money to charity in honor of the first player to do it. Even though Fauria said he is not being fined for the celebration, Fallon is donating $10,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"We were going nuts," Fallon said on the show. "We all saw it on Twitter. We were going crazy."
Fallon wasn't the only one to notice Fauria's moves. 'N Sync member Joey Fatone tweeted at Fauria on Monday, complimenting his dance.
This started when Fallon and Timberlake performed the dance as part of the "Evolution of End Zone Dancing" skit on Fallon's show earlier this month. At the end, Fallon did what he called the "Justin Timberlake," the dance 'N Sync made famous with the song "Bye Bye Bye."
"That's where I got it from," Fauria said. "And also being an 'N Sync fan for a long period of time. You know, when I had my bleached blond tips when I was 10, you know."
The song "Bye Bye Bye" was released the day after Fauria's 10th birthday.
Dancing isn't a new thing for Fauria. His uncle, former NFL tight end Christian Fauria, said his nephew used to do the Macarena on the field during flag football games when he was a kid.
"He kept getting yelled at because after every play, he was doing the Macarena," Christian Fauria said. "In the middle of the field. He did not care.
"As silly and as goofy as he was Sunday doing 'Bye Bye Bye.'"
Joseph Fauria learned, though, to keep his dancing for the end zone. And it already has earned the rookie some notoriety as a player who will be willing to celebrate when he can.
"Do I love attention? Yes," Fauria said. "I'm not trying to hide it. My personality is one that can be shown, and if it is in a positive light, I'm not going to be in a negative eye. I'm going to just keep [going], once I'm making plays.
"I'm not going to miss a block and start doing a dance. I'm getting touchdowns and doing dances. That's always a positive. But I'm going to continue to keep a short leash on it and make sure I'm not stepping out of line."
Now he has received some national recognition for it -- and appreciation from a late-night talk show host.
"Thank you," Fallon said on the show. "For dancing out there and making it fun."
9hEric D. Williams