Eagles wide receiver Allen holds hope for Paris Olympics

·3-min read

In-form hurdler Devon Allen is just eight weeks away from joining up with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver, but the American still harbours hopes of competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Allen, a former wide receiver with the University of Oregon, has not played gridiron since 2016, preferring instead to concentrate on his athletics career.

The 27-year-old won the US Olympic trials in 2016, and placed fifth in the 110m hurdles at the Rio de Janeiro games.

He just missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, finishing in fourth place.

At the weekend, Allen clocked 12.84 seconds in New York, the third fastest 110m hurdles time in history.

"The biggest thing is that I felt I could do it before and it just took a few races this year to get it down," Allen said ahead of Thursday's Diamond League meet in Oslo.

"Hopefully my next races this year will be under 13 seconds."

Allen plans to also compete at Saturday's Diamond League meet in Paris before racing in the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships.

He will then take part in the World Championships -- which will be staged at his alma mater's historic Hayward Field Stadium in Eugene -- in July.

With the 110m hurdles final scheduled for July 17, Allen has a tight nine-day turnaround before joining up with the Eagles for pre-season training.

"Hopefully I'll be back and forth through the seasons after the football season and do some outdoor meets and see how the body feels and go with the flow," Allen said of the chances of him continuing the two sports.

"Yeah, I think so," he replied when asked if he was targeting the Paris Games. "I don't plan on running track during the football season.

"As long as I'm healthy, I'll be able to compete during the summer season, I've just got to be a little bit more wary about how much volume I'm doing with football and track.

"The Olympics are probably during training camp so I'm going to have to have special permission from the head coach to miss a couple of days for the Olympics."

- Transferable attributes -

Achieving success in athletics and American football is not without precedent, although it is rare for an athlete to do both simultaneously.

At the 2012 Olympics, Marquise Goodwin competed in the long jump before playing for the Buffalo Bills as a wide receiver the following year.

Others include Ron Brown, a member of the USA's 4x100 relay gold-medal winning team at the 1984 Olympics who played seven seasons in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders.

Allen said that football training over the last seven weeks had even contributed to him being the fastest he's ever been back on the track.

"Speed is probably the biggest weapon and tool that I have getting back into football because just being one of the fastest guys on the field is going to help me tremendously," he said.

"It's going to take a little bit more time to learn the game again. I've played my whole life but it's five years since I last played. I'm feeling confident about my ability.

"I'm doing well in track and I'll go into football world as the track guy. I've been playing football so long and I've had so many teammates who are really great athletes... but they've focused on football because that's where the prestige is and the popularity is in the United States."

Allen added: "Some of the athletic attributes fit well between football and track and field, especially with the latter having so many different events, the main components being speed, power, explosiveness, and I think that's the key component to being a good football player."

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