The bright lights – salary, notoriety, and endorsement exposure – offered by the National Football League do not compare in the least to a career as a professional runner. On Tuesday night University of Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen returned to Eugene, Oregon from the Olympics in Rio. Allen placed an impressive 5th place in the 110 Men’s hurdle final despite tearing his ACL in the Rose Bowl against Florida State less than two years prior. Allen certainly has a future in hurdling. He is the two time NCAA champion and two time US champion. Allen won the US Olympic Track and Field Trials (in Eugene) against the legends David Oliver, Jason Richardson, and Aries Merritt.
Unless your name is Usain Bolt, who cashes in on $9 million annually from his sponsorship with Puma, professional track and field athletes do not make anywhere near what wide receivers in the NFL make. For Allen a career as an NFL receiver is quite enticing. That is why Allen has decided to attempt the daunting feat of doubling in football and track and field.
The jury is still out to see if Allen is able to make a smooth transition back into football after missing so much of fall camp to train and run in the Olympics. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has faith that Allen will be ready to go by Saturday when the ducks open against UC Davis.
"We play next Saturday so I am sure he'll be ready," Helfrich said Tuesday before Allen's return. "We'll see where he is from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint, but if there's anyone who can do it, it would be him."
Allen, the Phoenix, Arizona native, burst onto the scene his freshman year at Oregon catching 41 passes for 648 yards and 7 touchdowns. Allen brought speed and was able to consistently take the top off defenses with his play making ability. Unfortunately, the next season was quite different. Allen only caught nine passes all season while struggling to come back from the ACL tear he suffered in the opening kickoff against Florida State in the Rose Bowl.
With the new season just days away, Oregon fans hope Allen will be a good outlet to recently named starter Dakota Prukop. Along with the electrifying set of wide outs at Oregon’s disposal this year (Darren Carrington, Charles Nelson, and Dwayne Stanford) Allen will bring his world class speed to help create one of the best receiving corps in the Pac-12.
This Saturday, Oregon fans will hope to catch a glimpse of the blur that is Devon Allen.