Devon Allen scores first touchdown in six years, celebrates with hurdles

Devon Allen
Getty
0 Comments

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.

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.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

What Michael Phelps told the University of Alabama football team

Michael Phelps
Getty
0 Comments

Michael Phelps visited the University of Alabama football team for a preseason pep talk, which was shared by the program on social media last week.

Phelps, who took classes while training at the University of Michigan in the mid-2000s and trained for the final year of his career at Arizona State, has football connections. He has counted retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as a close friend.

Phelps considered trying out for his high school football team, but it wasn’t feasible given the time necessary for his burgeoning career in swimming, which for years meant seven-days-per-week training.

The speech transcript:

Well, I’m going to open up with a quote. It’s one of my favorite quotes. “Actions speak louder than words.” That literally is what defines my career. I made my first Olympic team, 15 years old. I got fifth place. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t satisfied. They gave me a piece of paper that said, congratulations, you participated. That piece of paper motivated me for that whole next four years. I said, there’s not a shot in hell, this is ever going to happen again. My very first [Olympic] race, I did not medal. And then in 2012, I had one race I didn’t medal. I can go back and look at those races because I want to make sure that feeling stays with me until the next time I have a chance to get out there to do the same thing again. From 2002 to 2008, guess how many days I took off. In those six years, guess how many days I took off. None. Zero. Why? I wanted something that nobody else had the opportunity to get. I was willing to do more than anybody else on the planet was willing to do. I got the results. I wanted to do it because I wanted that chance. Nobody’s going to give you that chance, right? You’re going to have to earn that chance. That’s all I wanted. I wanted to bust my ass every single day to earn that one chance. And wherever that took me, it took me. Every time I’d go into practice, my coach would say jump. I would say how high, because I knew there were hundreds of thousands of other kids that were doing the same thing. And they were not going to take that opportunity away from me. Y’all have one of the greatest, if not the greatest coach leading y’all every single day. He’s got the answers. But it’s y’all that need to listen or making sure you’re doing everything away from the field. Right? It’s not just what happens here. I can’t tell you that enough. It is not just what happens here. It’s the whole entire picture. You get one chance, right? You get once chance to do something special. Don’t waste it, please.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Devon Allen, Olympic hurdler, signs with Philadelphia Eagles

Devon Allen
Getty
0 Comments

The Philadelphia Eagles said that they have signed Devon Allen, who placed fifth then fourth in the 110m hurdles at the last two Olympics.

Allen, a former University of Oregon wide receiver whose last snap was in 2016, previously said he planned to return to football after this track and field season. Allen will compete in track through the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July, assuming he makes the team, his agent said Friday.

“It’s now or never because I don’t want to get too old,” the 27-year-old Allen said last month about football, according to World Athletics Championships Oregon22. “I don’t want to turn 30, 31 and then try and get into the NFL.”

Allen participated at the University of Oregon pro day last Friday. He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, according to the Eagles.

Last year, Allen missed an Olympic medal by four hundredths of a second, then a month later clocked a personal-best 12.99 seconds. He ranked second in the world by best time in 2021, trailing only countryman Grant Holloway, the 2019 World champion and Tokyo Olympic silver medalist.

MORE: Who are the fastest NFL players in track’s 100m?

When Allen turned pro in track in November 2016, he said his plan was to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo and then move back to football.

“My ideal scenario is to run track for the next couple years, and then 2020 Olympics, win a gold medal, have the world record, put that to the side and try to play football,” Allen said then.

Allen at first returned to play wide receiver for the Ducks after the 2016 Rio Games. He tore his left ACL and MCL and suffered meniscus damage in a non-contact injury defending a punt return in a game Sept. 17, 2016. That was his last play.

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.

A total of 43 Olympians, including 34 track and field athletes, also played in an NFL regular-season game, according to Olympedia.org.

Most recently, 2012 Olympic long jumper Marquise Goodwin played wide receiver for three teams over the last decade. The most famous hurdler to transition to the NFL was Renaldo Nehemiah, who missed the 1980 Olympics due to the U.S. boycott while he held the world record.

“I know the skill gap is still there from college to the NFL, but I think when I did play college and when I did play at a pretty good level, I would consider myself talented enough to play in the NFL,” Allen said last month, according to World Athletics Championships Oregon22. “I’ve been doing football stuff for about the last six weeks. It’s like riding a bike. I don’t really feel much different than I did in 2014 and 2016 playing ball.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!