Eagles’ Devon Allen opens up on rookie season and his football and track plans

Devon Allen is no stranger to being watched on TV by millions in front of packed stadiums around the world.

His athletic career these days is a little different.

Allen has been on the Eagles’ practice team since August 31, running with the scout team, meeting other receivers to study movies, working on return skills, and watching on game days. I’m here.

It’s a new world, but one that Allen loves to be a part of.

“I’m making good progress,” he said in his locker this week.

“Training camp was whirlwind and hard for me, but the last three months have been much more comfortable. So when I get the chance to play, I’m ready.”

This was never easy.

Until this summer, Allen hadn’t played football since the 2016 season in Oregon, concentrating on his career as a world-class hurdler. He has placed in the top five in his 110m hurdles for both his 2016 and his 2021 Olympic Games, which he did in June at a competition on Randall Island in New York where he posted a 12.84. Recorded. This is the third fastest time in world history.

But after a false start at the World Championships and the final in Eugene, it was all about football for the 28-year-old Allen.

even though no one saw it.

“Playing football is nothing new to me because I played football from the age of five until I was 21. After 16 years, I took five or six years off,” he said. “But 16 years, the game hasn’t changed much. Athletes change. Everyone gets bigger, faster, stronger. , became stronger.

“The hardest thing for me was recognizing, ‘Hey, I belong here.’ It was to dive in. This is what I really needed to do.

“Being able to really understand the concept, the defense, the coverage and read them on the fly, why we’re running plays, what down and distances should be done and why. , the offensive coordinator and the head coach are thinking, so that’s what I’m really focused on right now, just to be able to get a feel for the whole game, and that’s because you don’t have to think about it too much and you can just go , I think it’s very useful in the field.”

Allen ran late in training camp after a slow start to earn a spot on the practice team. He made some big tackles on special teams, rolling in a 55-yard touchdown off Reed Sinnett in a preseason game against the Browns.

Since then, he’s had to measure his performance progress in practice, where he’s battling the NFL’s No. 1 pass defenseman.

“At first it was about how many mistakes I made, but gradually I started making less mistakes. Now my goal is to play when I get the chance,” he said. “I’ve done a lot and he’s one of the best, if not the best, defenseman in the NFL, and he’s got a lot of opportunities on the scout team against one, and he’s taking advantage of it.

“The other thing is from people here, Coby (British), Smithy (Debonta Smith), AJ (Brown), Zach Pascal, Keth (Watkins, G- Ward (Greg Ward), (Auden) Tate – Everyone has their own set of skills that make them elite and they try to get as much out of them as possible.

“AJ is really good at swiping his arms down the field, keeping the db away from him and being physical, Smitty is really good at the line of scrimmage on the release. Quez is really good at separating at the top of the break. Covey is really crafty and crafty, and for me it allows me to be really well rounded because I can take what everyone is doing really well and try to do it. I’m not doing very well, but I’m getting better every day.”

Life on the practice team can be frustrating, but it’s also lucrative. Assuming Allen remains a regular on the practice team for the rest of the season, he could earn $207,000, but a promotion game would make him worth nearly $40,000.

For comparison, I won both hurdle races in the European Diamond League over the summer against world-class competitions in Paris and Oslo, earning a total of $20,000.

Is his future on the soccer field or on the track and field?

I don’t know yet.

“I think the number one thing for me is to keep improving as an athlete,” he said. “It means getting stronger, faster and continuing to improve in the weight room and sprints.

“My number one goal is to stay healthy. There is an old policy that the best is available, so keep practicing, stay healthy, and see how you feel and when the season is over. Evaluate where you are physically and if you feel like you can have a good (track) season…I do it and the goals are the same every year – run fast, break the world record, I run It’s about winning every race….but I want to play in the NFL for a few years, so we’ll see.”

Allen has done more than many expected when he signed with the Eagles in April, considering he hadn’t played football in five years.

Whatever happens next, he said it was so much fun to be part of a 12-1 team and experience the culture that Howie Roseman and Nick Siriani built.

“This year has been a great year,” he said. “I love it. I couldn’t have asked for better circumstances and opportunities than to be here.”

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