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The Viral Summer Of Robert Gill

Posted Jul 22, 2013

Little-known wide receiver gets instant fame after treadmill video

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What started as a simple tweet has turned Robert Gill into one of the unlikeliest celebrities of the summer.

In March, Gill was recorded running 25 mph on a treadmill during a training session before reporting to the Cardinals’ minicamp. The video sat dormant for almost four months until one of Gill’s followers asked him on twitter about how he became so fast. In response, Gill posted the video on YouTube on June 25 and then headed to sleep.

By the next morning it had 40,000 views. Later that day, after it was on ESPN and the NFL Network, the video had 1 million views. Then 2 million. As of July 22, it’s sitting at 2.9 million views.

In the matter of a few days, Gill crossed over from an NFL journeyman who was on the brink of his rookie season at age 29 to a pop-culture phenomenon.

On July 3, Gill was a guest on NBC’s Today Show, talking about his YouTube sensation while running on a treadmill that topped out at 10 mph.

“I wouldn’t even think I’d be on the Today Show,” Gill said. “It never even crossed my mind. Just stuff like that just happens. Some people love to see what you do.”

It was Gill’s first time in New York and the Today Show rolled out the red carpet from his hotel to chauffer service around the Big Apple. At Rockefeller Center, Gill met Usher and Martha Stewart, who asked for an autograph, Gill said. While he was on the air, Usher played with Gill’s two sons.

Later that day, Gill was on Inside Edition.

And the interviews, mostly on the phone, starting coming and haven’t stopped. But Gill, who is trying to make his first NFL team, will curtail his media tour Monday. Rookies report to training camp Tuesday.

The whirlwind of a summer has made Robert Gill’s name known to more than the hardcore football fan. It even brought out a copycat.

A week after Gill’s Chad Johnson posted a video of him running on a treadmill at 24 mph with the support of a spotter – unlike Gill.

“Imitation is the best form of flattery,” Gill said. “I hope him doing what he did can help him latch on somewhere. I hope it helps him. I wasn’t doing it to draw any attention at all. I was just doing it to show my fans how I train. I wanted to be able to connect fans to how I live my life.”

Gill said running at 25 mph on a treadmill is how he would do his interval training but he never expected the 21-second video to launch him into the pop culture vernacular.

“It’s crazy just how people are impressed with your talent,” Gill said. “To me it’s just an everyday thing.”

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