As former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps prepared to jump onto the first obstacle in the “American Ninja Warrior” course, Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson popped up on a big screen and offered his friend some sage advice: “Don’t slip, don’t trip, don’t fall.”
Unfortunately for Heaps, those words were easier said than executed.
The 30-year-old athlete — who lives in Seattle and coaches young quarterbacks in the Russell Wilson Passing Academy — struggled almost immediately on the challenging course even seasoned veterans of “American Ninja Warrior” still have a hard time completing.
On the first obstacle, called the Shrinking Steps, Heaps raced across a series of steps that get progressively higher and smaller before grabbing a rope to swing onto the next obstacle.
But Heaps didn’t quite stick the landing, and had to swing back and forth a second time before making it to the next obstacle, called the Double Down.
As his wife, Brooke, and his two kids were shown on a large screen in the background, Heaps started the Double Down — a newer “American Ninja Warrior” obstacle that tests upper body strength as competitors grab and pull a bar along a curved track.
It’s ultimately where Heaps came crashing down.
After he lost his balance and fell into the water, Heaps slapped the side of the pool and said, “Man, that was a lot of fun.”
Heaps is one of 24 competitors who got eliminated during the Double Down obstacle, according to the website American Ninja Warrior Nation. Eighteen competitors completed the entire six-obstacle course during Tuesday night’s qualifier round.
“Thank you to everyone for the incredible support and kind words after my run on @ninjawarrior,” he wrote. “It was an honor to just be able to set foot on the course.”
One of the top high school quarterbacks in the country in 2009, Heaps was the third true freshman to start at quarterback at BYU, the Deseret News reported. He left BYU after his sophomore season when he lost his starting job, transferring to Kansas and then Miami before landing short stints with the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks.
In addition to his work with Wilson, Heaps also hosts a daily show on 710 ESPN Seattle, according to the Deseret News.
The semifinal round of “American Ninja Warrior,” which features the top 30 to 35 competitors from each of the five qualifying rounds, begins July 19 and will air on NBC.