The Eagles on Friday signed wide receiver Devon Allen, a former Olympic hurdler who last played football in college at Oregon in 2016.
Allen is a three-time national champion in the 110 hurdles and competed in the 2016 Olympics and again in the 2020 Olympics that were delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While he has said that he plans to compete in the U.S. Track & Field outdoor championships in June and the World Athletics Championships in July, Allen recently worked out for NFL teams at Oregon’s pro day.
“I just kind of announced myself back in football like seven days ago at the Oregon pro day, and that was my official announcement like ‘hey, I’m getting back into it, and my intent is to play pro football,’” Allen said on an Instagram Live session with the CBD brand Mendi. “And then I talked to Howie Roseman 20 minutes after pro day. They were excited about me, which means a lot.”
The 27-year-old Allen played three seasons at Oregon, his best coming in 2014 when he caught 41 passes for 684 yards and seven touchdowns. His season ended, though, when he suffered a torn right ACL injury in the Rose Bowl.
He caught only 13 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown in nine games over the next two seasons before suffering another torn ACL, this time to his left knee. He returned, however, and devoted himself exclusively to hurdling.
Allen finished fifth in the 110 hurdles in the 2016 Games in Brazil with a time of 13.31 seconds and finished fourth at 13.14 seconds in Tokyo five years later. In his last race of the 2021 season, he broke the 13-second barrier, becoming just the 13th American to accomplish the feat.
The 6-foot, 191-pound Allen ran the 40-yard dash somewhere in the 4.35-39 range at the pro day in Eugene, Ore., according to various reports. He also had a 34.5-inch vertical jump, ran the three-cone drill in 7.23 seconds, the 20-yard shuttle in 4.55 seconds, all unofficial times, and caught passes for scouts in attendance.
Allen said he was in Philadelphia on Thursday and spoke with coaches about learning the offensive scheme. He planned to participate in the Eagles’ OTAs and then after the World Championships in Oregon go to training camp in Philadelphia.
“It just seems like a good opportunity just to see what I can do and contribute to a football team that made a great run last year into the playoffs, and I think with some of my natural tools, my speed, it’s going to be a big help just spreading the field open,” he said. “I’ll be able to do a lot of things in the return game and special teams-wise as well. So I really think I can help the team, and that’s kind of my goal is to be there in whatever capacity I can to help the Eagles win, and the goal is to win a Super Bowl.”
Over the years, the Eagles haven’t been shy about signing players who haven’t taken traditional paths to the NFL. Their greatest success in that department was drafting Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata in 2018. Mailata has since become the Eagles’ starting left tackle and signed a four-year, $64 million extension last year.