After missing the playoffs for the fifth-straight season, the Atlanta Falcons went into the full-rebuild mode with a new head coach and several player cuts, including the release of starting safety Ricardo Allen to save a chunk of cap space.
It didn’t take long for Allen to find a new home, however, when the Cinncinatti Bengals came calling. And while Allen wasn’t personally ready for a fresh start, it ended up being just what he needed.
“I was able to grow as a man, grow as a player, grow as a human being, grow as a player. The Falcons helped build me into a lot of who I am today,” Allen told the media during Super Bowl week.
“Man, just being able to get to the opportunity to go to another team at the end…to be honest I didn’t want to restart. I loved the players and over there and I loved everything about that locker room. I wasn’t ready to restart from ground zero again at a place where I had already worked up from the bottom before. I knew that the new coaching staff was going to come in with not very much respect for me. That (is) kind of just how it goes when you are bringing in a new staff.
“I was ready to go somewhere else and do something different, too. I got that opportunity. I never voiced that to anyone, but it came in free agency. It was kind of perfect timing for me and my family.”
I got the opportunity and it came at free agency. It was perfect timing for me and my family.”
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Allen Is Super Bowl Bound, Again
Now, the former Falcons and current Cincinnati Bengals safety is set to take on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 56.
However, this isn’t the first time he’s been to the big game. Allen played a big role in the Falcons’ infamous 2017 loss to the New England Patriots when Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead.
And unlike the rest of the Super Bowl LI Falcons players, Ricardo will get a chance to redeem himself on Sunday, February 13 and he’s using his last SB experience as motivation, but he was doing so before Cincy even made it this far.
“Even when we have gotten into tough situations in this playoff run,” Allen said via The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I’m always working on the sidelines, and one of the main things I say to some of them is ‘I’ve got to tell you a story about being up 25 points in the Super Bowl.’ It always seems to give us a kick that we need. We’re never out of fight.”
Of course, Allen would have hoped for a better outcome against Tom Brady and the Pats, but the end result taught him more then a win ever did.
“Even after losing that game, would I have wanted to win that game for us? Sure,” Allen said. “To lose a game like that and lose to one of the greatest of all time (Brady), it teaches you a lot. It teaches some things that winning that game probably couldn’t have taught me.”
As the only current Bengals player who has been to a Super Bowl before, he’s been busy all week consulting the rest of his teammates.
“They are asking me a lot of questions about how the Falcons lost a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. It’s just the experience that I’m able to tell them about that game. Just being able to play back through it and tell them what I believe could have helped us win.
He added, “Players just want to know how that game went. I feel like I learned a lot from actually losing that game because, to be honest, there is not a point in time that I think I would have thought that we’d lose that game after being up 25 points.”
Allen won’t be starting in the Super Bowl this time, but the future want-to-be coach will be a motivation on the sidelines.
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