Devon Allen made sure his first reception with the Philadelphia Eagles was a memorable one.
Allen, a two-time Olympian taking a break from the 110m hurdles to pursue football, used his speed to snag a 55-yard touchdown pass in the Eagles’ second preseason game Sunday.
Of course, he celebrated by clearing air hurdles. It came six years after Allen’s last touchdown, when he also celebrated by hurdling when at the University of Oregon.
Devon Allen with the hurdle celebration!! #FlyEaglesFly
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) August 21, 2022
In the time between, Allen turned pro in track, placed fourth in his second Olympics and ran the third-fastest 110m hurdles time in history.
In football, he tore his left ACL and MCL and suffered meniscus damage in a non-contact injury defending a punt return for Oregon on Sept. 17, 2016, seven days after that last touchdown. That was his last game play before this month.
It was the same injury he suffered on the opening kickoff of the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, just to the opposite knee. That redshirt freshman season, he led Oregon with seven receiving touchdowns, was second on the team with 41 catches and third with 684 receiving yards before the injury.
Allen is hoping to join a list of 43 Olympians, including 34 track and field athletes, who played in an NFL regular-season game, according to Olympedia.org. He controversially false-started out of the world track and field championships last month, then went to training camp.
“You watch one of those military movies, a grenade goes off, and their head’s ringing, that’s how I felt in the huddle the first couple weeks,” he said Sunday.
He must get through two cut deadlines, starting with Tuesday’s mandate to get down to 80. The final cut is Aug. 30 down to 53 players.
He said earlier this year that he plans to return to track and field next season, even if he makes the Eagles’ final roster.
“There’s a lot for me to learn, a lot for me to do in order to make the football team,” he said. “I want to get reps. I want to play, but also I appreciate the fact that it’s been six years. It’s not going to come back real quick.”
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