There are certain types of people in this world that believe they can succeed at anything they attempt, no matter what. Devon Allen is one of them. Of course, we all know that Allen competed in the men’s 110 meter final during the Rio Olympics last month. We also know that he’s a wide receiver for the Oregon football team. He truly believes he can win an Olympic gold medal and play in the NFL.
I’m here to tell him that he can’t, and thinking he can do so is putting his future in jeopardy.
First off, let me start by saying that yes, of course I want Allen to succeed both on the track and the gridiron. But I just don’t think it is possible.
That’s because football is probably the most dangerous sport one can play, and Devon Allen has now shown he has trouble staying healthy on the field.
Rewind back to January of 2015 when the Ducks played Florida State in the Rose Bowl, Allen went down with a torn ACL. And just when it looked like Allen had made his glorious comeback, catching four passes for 141 yards with a touchdown against Virginia, Allen went down again.
On Saturday, Allen suffered a non-contact injury when his left knee buckled in the fourth quarter. He would eventually limp off the field under his own power. We still don’t know exactly what happened due to Oregon’s policy on not talking about injuries. But based on the fact that it was a non-contact injury, don’t expect to see Allen back on the field anytime soon.
Let’s play worst case scenario for a moment. Let’s say that Allen tore his ACL in his left knee. This would mean that Allen has torn his ACL in both knees in less than two years. Even if he was an elite wide receiver, NFL teams would already pass on him. Let’s say that Allen misses the rest of the year. That gives him less than 1,000 yards receiving and less than 10 touchdowns over the course of three seasons. He’d need a senior season for the ages if he hoped to catch the attention of any NFL teams. And even then, the odds would be stacked against him to succeed in the NFL.
Sure, the NFL offers the chance at a bigger paycheck than track ever will. But I know how bad he wants that gold medal, and you can’t win Olympic gold with two bum knees.
Devon Allen has already proved he is one of the best hurdlers in the world by reaching the Olympic final. He hasn’t even reached his ceiling on the track, and he has the chance to be the best in the world at what he does. Meanwhile, he’s not even the best wide receiver in the Pac-12, much less the country. Allen is such a competitive spirit, that even after two knee injuries, he’ll still believe that he can be in the NFL while pursuing a professional track career. And that stubbornness is going to cost him dearly one day, if it hasn’t already.
I’m crossing my fingers that Allen’s injury isn’t as bad as it looked on Saturday, but at the same time I’m hoping this opens his eyes to how he’s risking his athletic future by playing a sport that he can’t stay healthy in.