Olympian Devon Allen released by Eagles, signed to practice squad


UPDATE: On Wednesday, Allen was added to the Eagles practice squad, according to multiple reports. After an extensive layoff following his collegiate career, he’ll have the chance to develop his football skills and compete for a spot on the active roster.

Two-time Olympic hurdler Devon Allen was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in the final round of cuts ahead of the NFL season. Allen has until 12 p.m. ET Wednesday to clear waivers, after which the Eagles can put him on their practice squad.

Allen was a long shot to fill a wide receiver slot for the Eagles after an up-and-down showing at training camp over the past month. After struggling at the start of camp, Allen found his stride in recent weeks, punctuated by a 55-yard touchdown catch against the Browns on August 21 and three impactful special teams plays against the Dolphins on Saturday.

Allen, 27, is a two-time Olympic finalist in the 110m hurdles and the third-fastest ever in that event, having run a 12.84 earlier this summer. His speed stood out on the football field during Oregon’s Pro Day in April, when he ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and earned his training camp spot, and it stood out again in his preseason appearances.

He competed in both sports as a student at the University of Oregon, where he led the Ducks with seven touchdown receptions as a redshirt freshman in 2014. A month after finishing fifth in the 110m hurdles at the Rio Olympics, Allen tore his left MCL and ACL defending a punt return for Oregon. That was his last football game until 2022. Allen admitted he needed more time to adjust at camp than players who never took a break from football.

“To be honest, the first couple weeks… you watch one of those military movies, the grenade goes off and they’re like, [stunned]. Their head’s ringing,” Allen told reporters last week. “And that’s how I felt in the huddle the first couple weeks, just trying to listen to the call, understand my assignment, figure out what I’m doing, and then make a play on the field, be a football player.”

Allen is bidding to become the 44th Olympian to play in the NFL, and the 35th track and field Olympian to do so. Ahead of the season, Allen said he would return to track and field next year regardless of whether he made the Eagles roster.

A healthy Devon Allen is a likely medal contender in the men’s 110m hurdles at the Paris Olympics in 2024. He was favored to win the world title last month before he was controversially disqualified for a false start. When the starting gun went off in the final round, the pressurized electronic sensors in the starting blocks determined Allen had started one thousandth (.001) of a second faster than the rules allow.

Allen called it “unfortunate” that the rule didn’t have “a little bit of leeway for margin of error.” He left for Eagles training camp a few days later.

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever

Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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