As UDFA Lorenzo Allen sat down to have dinner at the Philadelphia Eagles, NovaCare Complex, he knew he had an uphill battle to climb, one in which he would not come out on top, this time. But that’s not what this is about. Looking around at all the new faces, some from large schools, and some from not so large universities, there were a few things that stood out to Allen. The biggest thing being, he was there. He had worked his butt off to get an opportunity, and here were the fruits of his labor.
Coming from the lesser known Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Allen understood what kind of fight he was in.
“I knew I had to stick out, I understood the battle in front of me. Coming from a small school, I get the idea that most people have, that we don’t play tough competition. That the level of play isn’t as good as these bigger schools, I get it, but I wasn’t and never will be worried about that. The one thing that was said over and over is they don’t care what school you come from, or whether you’re drafted, or not drafted, once you get in the building, you have to take your shot.”
Continuing on, he talked about what stood out to him about trying out for the Eagles during the team’s rookie minicamp this past weekend.
“As I looked around and saw the others players playing, and I watched as the coaches coached us, how I wasn’t being treated any different than anyone else. I knew I could play here, I can play at the highest of levels and I really dug in. There was a moment where I see this player or that player, and was impressed watching the speed of certain guys, or watching them catch or run the ball, and I felt like these guys are good..but I can play here. I can play at this level, so I busted my butt, and know I still have tons of work to do.”
Unfortunately, the 6’6, 290 lbs, OT (Possible DE), didn’t get an invite at this time, but it wasn’t due to his talent, nor his versatility. Allen sustained an injury during the weekend, closing the doors early..but that’s not all she wrote.
“Yeah, it was hard not being able to finish the workout.” Allen explained. “I knew going in there I wasn’t fully healthy, but I had to take this shot. Going up to the draft, I had gotten interest from a few teams, and some said I could be drafted if it wasn’t for my injury, but things happen for a reason. Anyway, getting back to what I was saying, I had interest from other teams, and never heard from the Eagles, up until after the draft, and all of sudden, my agent is telling me Philly’ is calling. I had to take that invite, I love the city, I love the fans and the way they are, and after being around the organization in person, I love the way they do things.
It’s kind of strange to say, but as I sat there getting treated, I was a bit down. I had my head low a little, but I was approached by another player, a guy who plays for the Eagles, and he was so humble about it all. He didn’t come at me like he is this rich football player, he treated me like a teammate. As I sat there, he came up and just asked what was going on, if I was ok…he was really concerned and he didn’t know me, but he acted like he did. I will never forget that. That moment, along with the fact the defensive line coach (Chris) Wilson, approached me on day one, and said “I wanted you in here, I want you to play on the defensive side of the ball, I’m glad your here.” that made me think , man I can play this game. The fact that he knew I started my career on the defensive side of the ball, made me feel good.”
The fact that Coach Wilson, wants to give him a shot on the defensive side of the ball, isn’t surprising, as he plays with such an aggressive manner. Even with the switch to OT, Allen plays with the “Swagger”, of a D-linemen. He has an excellent punch at the point of contact to go along with his great length and excellent athletic ability. Like all prospects, he has work to do with his technique, but possesses the skill set to be a solid player at the next level. With great feet, a thick base, and strong arms, Allen could be just the project worth taking on for the future.
Despite not making the team (for now), Allen continues his uphill battle, this time around a lot more prepared.
“I have a few opportunities, in the CFL, and few interested teams, I think the best thing to do, is get healthy. I talked to a few people in the organization (Eagles), and they showed me a few things, to help get a shot to get on this team. To work my way back, I have to get healthy, it all starts there, and then who knows? I believe I can play this game, I can play it at a high level, so that’s the goal. That is what I am going to do, I learned a lot in a short time there, the offensive line coach (Stoutland), was straight to the point, told me what I need to get better, and I took it to heart, I will get to the level I need.”
I asked him what his advice would be to a player in his shoes?
“Work hard, get better everyday, do not give up.”
Wiser words, may have never been spoken.