Devon Allen celebrates after the mixed shuttle hurdles relay final at the 2019 IAAF World Relays on May 11, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
Devon Allen, who raced to top-five finishes in the hurdles at the last two Olympic Games, is going back to hurdling linebackers.
The 27-year-old former University of Oregon wide receiver has signed with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced Friday. Should he make the team, it would be his first season back on the gridiron since 2016 with Oregon.
“It’s now or never because I don’t want to get too old,” Allen said in an article on the Eagles’ website. “I don’t want to turn 30, 31, and then try and get into the NFL. I know the skill gap is still there from college to the NFL, but I think when I did play college and when I did play at a pretty good level, I would consider myself talented enough to play in the NFL.”
The speedy Allen played three seasons at Oregon, catching 54 passes for 919 yards and eight touchdowns. However, most of those came during his first season in 2014. Injuries limited him to just six games in 2015 and three the following year.
All the while, the Phoenix native maintained his standing as one of the best in the world at the 110-meter hurdles, and in 2016 he won the event at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials before finishing fifth at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. He moved up one spot to fourth at last summer’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, coming in just four-tenths shy of a bronze medal.
Allen caught the Eagles’ attention after taking part in a pro day at Oregon, where he was timed at 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
The Eagles are coming off a 9-8 season in which they finished second in the NFC West to return to the playoffs.