Devon Allen joins list of Olympians to play in NFL regular season game
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen became the 44th Olympian to play in an NFL regular season game.
Allen made his NFL regular season debut on the opening kickoff of Monday night’s game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Allen, a two-time Olympian in the 110m hurdles, was elevated from the practice squad earlier Monday, putting him on the active roster for a regular season game for the first time.
The 28-year-old first signed with the Eagles in April 2022 and spent the previous season on the practice squad while also playing in preseason games the last two summers.
The most famous Olympians to play in the NFL include Jim Thorpe, the first in 1920, and Bob Hayes, the 1964 Olympic 100m gold medalist who as a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver became the first (and so far only) Olympian to win a Super Bowl.
Fellow Olympic track and field champions Milt Campbell (1956, decathlon), Jim Hines (1968, 100m) and Tommie Smith (1968, 200m) also briefly played in the NFL.
Allen became the second Olympian to play in an NFL regular season game this season after Cleveland Browns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, an NFL fixture since placing 10th in the long jump at the 2012 London Games.
Allen, fourth and fifth at the last two Olympics, is the most accomplished Olympian to play in the NFL since kick returner Michael Bates in the 1990s and 2000s. Bates was the 1992 Olympic 200m bronze medalist.
Allen, who competed in football and track at the University of Oregon, has said for years that he wanted to play both sports professionally.
He juggled each in 2022 and 2023, going from an outdoor track season to Eagles training camp.
In 2022, Allen ran the third-fastest 110m hurdles time ever (12.84 seconds), then was disqualified out of the world championships final a month later due to a controversial false start.
This past July, Allen scratched out of the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships semifinals after being limited by a calf injury.