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.
Eagles are getting their wish and are bringing back Devon Allen on the practice squad, according to @MikeGarafolo
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 31, 2022
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.