The disappointment was significant for a couple of days but Allen had only a week or so before he turned his attention to the Eagles and taking the extremely difficult steps toward making the team. Allen says he has to learn “how to be a receiver again and play the position” after being away from the game for so long. He’s fast, yeah, but there is a whole lot more to playing wide receiver – and playing special teams, for that matter – than just being one of the world’s fastest men.
“The nuances are much different than college and it’s been so long since I’ve played, right, that I have to remember the intensity and the tempo that all the coaches want in practice and how to practice and how to get a good rep even if we’re just in helmets or just in shells and then getting all the walkthrough reps I can,” Allen said. “Learning the offense is the biggest thing. Just the intensity is a lot different. It’s good on good every play, no matter ones, twos, threes. It’s really fun and competitive and it’s not easy for sure.”
Allen said he made the commitment back in 2016 that someday he would give football another go after trying to be the best in the world in the 110-meter hurdles. He said it over and over and over again on Saturday: The toughest thing is learning how to play wide receiver at the highest level of the game. He explained his goals this way: He wants to make the team, contribute to the Eagles winning the Super Bowl, and then take a few weeks off and get back into hurdling.
He has big goals for both spots. Allen’s explosiveness is obvious when he’s hurdling and that helps him as he transitions to the football field. A wide receiver has to be explosive, of course, but there is also the need to create separation with precise route running and the use of a player’s hands and body. In a sense, Allen is a project of the highest order. He still has the belief that he has the talent to be an Olympic champion someday, but right now the focus is football. Allen says he wants to give the NFL “a good go” and that this jaunt is not a “one-and-done thing.” Allen, though, is realistic: He is in a room with talented players who have been working at their craft daily for years.
The question is whether Allen can put it all together in the course of the next five weeks or so and impress the Eagles enough to gain an invite into September and the 2022 NFL season.
“I think, personally, I have the talent, just my physical attributes and my talent, to play in the NFL,” Allen said. “That doesn’t mean a lot. There are a lot more things that need to happen to be an NFL football player – mental side, physical. So, that’s something I’m learning now and hopefully I can figure that out in the next five weeks and give myself the best opportunity. It’s only been three days of true practice as well and I feel I’ve gotten exponentially better in every practice and way more comfortable and getting more reps and understanding the system, understanding what the coaches want from us as receivers.”
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