If Devon Allen can show he can catch the football and run decent routes, he might be headed for a roster spot. The Philadelphia Eagles rookie definitely has the speed to compete against anybody in the NFL. And anybody on the planet.
Allen posted a blistering 12.84 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles at the USATF NYC Grand Prix on June 12. It was the third-fastest time in history. More impressively, Allen came-from-behind to beat Olympic silver medalist Grant Holloway who holds the second-fastest time in the event at 12.81 seconds. Aries Merritt holds the world record at 12.80 seconds.
“I thought I could break the record today,” Allen told reporters, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Clean up a few things, and four hundredths of a second is four thousandths of a second per hurdle, which is so small. Going to have to wait for another race.”
Allen has plans to enter two races in Europe later this month, then he’ll compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon (June 23-26). Finally, it’s on to the World Athletics Championships at the University of Oregon (July 15-July 24). The latter is the marquee meet for current and future Olympians to showcase their speed. After that, Allen will report straight to South Philadelphia for Eagles’ training camp on July 26.
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Eagles Not Ready to Name Their Return Man
Looking at Allen gracefully glide over those 110-meter hurdles generated all the feels. You couldn’t help but imagine the three-time national champion hurdling over defenders in the open field. The Eagles desperately need a kick returner, preferably one with speed. Allen has insane potential.
That being said, the 27-year-old hasn’t played a down of organized football in six years. Special teams coordinator Michael Clay seemed surprised when reporters asked if he was considering Allen for kick return duties.
“As a returner? Devon hasn’t played football since 2016,” Clay said, “but we’re excited to have that type of speed really.”
Remember, Allen still has to learn the playbook and prove he can catch the pigskin. The former Oregon standout needs to get back into “football shape,” according to Clay.
“He was a very good receiver at Oregon, has top-end blazing speed,” Clay said. “He is an Olympic athlete for a reason. But we’re excited to see him back on the football field. It’s just him getting back into football shape, one, so he doesn’t get hurt. But we’re going to try and untap some sort of potential that he may be holding back from not playing in a little bit.”
Allen Talks About Getting Over COVID-19
Did a brief bout with COVID-19 actually help Allen set a historic time at the NYC Grand Prix? The track star certainly thinks so, citing the extra rest he was forced to take during a short quarantine.
“I think COVID is not good because your body is trying to recover, but it was good for me to get off my feet for seven to 10 days and not do anything,” Allen said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It worked out. I feel good and now I can start getting ready for USAs and Worlds.”