It’s not like he all of a sudden started catching a bunch of deep balls against Darius Slay and James Bradberry. It’s not like he’s showing off his world-class speed snap after snap.
Devon Allen is still a work in progress, but Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead said he’s seeing signs of life from the 27-year-old Olympic hurdler and NFL rookie who hasn’t played football since 2016.
“Devon’s doing a good job, he’s getting better every day, as you’d expect for a guy who hasn’t really played,” Moorehead said after practice Wednesday.
“In the spring he was in and out with track, so it was kind of a tough transition for him the first few days, it’s been nice seeing him just kind of gain his confidence back a little bit.”
Allen last played football in 2016, when he played three games for Oregon before suffering a season-ending knee injury. A week earlier, he had 141 receiving yards against Virginia at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
Since then, he’s focused on hurdling, reaching his second Olympic final in the 110-meter highs last year, running 12.84 in New York in June – the 3rd-fastest time in world history – and making the final at this year’s World Championships in Eugene before a disputed false start.
He knew it was going to take some time to overcome a five-year layoff, and it has.
“It’s definitely hard,” Allen said after early in training camp. “I didn’t expect it not to be hard. … It’s really fun, it’s really competitive, which is great. It’s not easy, for sure.”
The Eagles haven’t made Allen available for an interview since late last month.
But Moorehead, who’s been coaching Eagles wide receivers since Doug Pederson’s last year, seems encouraged.
“When you haven’t played football in five years and all of a sudden you’re trying to get into an NFL camp and go against guys who’ve been playing every day for the last five years there’s going to be challenges, there’s going to be ebbs and flows with that,” he said.
“So just trying to get him comfortable with the system and trying to get him comfortable with everything we’re doing on a daily basis.”
The Eagles’ preseason game against the Jets Friday night at the Linc will be Allen’s first football game since Sept. 17, 2016, when he got hurt during Oregon’s 35-32 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln.
That was 2,154 days ago.
“Excited to see what he can do just kind of moving in the preseason games,” Moorehead said.
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