The athletes have already juggled two professional sports. Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson played professional baseball and football, and Renaldo Nehemiah, the first 110-yard hurdles to run under 13 seconds, played for the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons. But none of these athletes suffered grueling injuries on the football field before trying the juggling act.
There’s also the lure of the NFL salary. The minimum salary for an NFL player is $660,000. In the vocational route, no governing body sets a minimum standard of remuneration. The runners, the luckiest of them at least, sign contracts with sports brands that pay them, and they win cash prizes on different races. Some professional track athletes would earn as little as $5,000 per year.
“I’m doing pretty well on track, so it’s not about the money,” Allen said. “It’s not a motivating factor at all. Since I was little, I wanted to play in the NFL and I had the opportunity.
Allen signed a three-year, $2.5 million contract with the Eagles. But only $40,000 is guaranteed if Allen fails to make the final 53-player roster, according to OverTheCap. And it is far from being a safe bet. He proved to be a gifted receiver at Oregon, leading the team in second-year touchdown catches. Still, Allen will join one of the NFL’s best wide receiver groups, led by former Pro Bowl receiver AJ Brown and first-round pick DeVonta Smith. There is also the possibility that he could play on special teams; he thrived as a gunner on punt and kick returns at Oregon.
Lubik is confident Allen will find a way to make the Eagles roster and shock the Philadelphia coaches, the same way he did years ago with the Oregon coaches.
“Whenever you think he can’t do something, you challenge him. Not only does he do it, he blows it,” Lubik said, noting how Allen unexpectedly became Oregon’s catcher as a junior and found success after two ACL surgeries. “That’s why even with the challenge of the NFL, you can never count this guy. I can see him being a great NFL player”