Allen reflects on year one in the NFL

CLEMSON - Less than a week ago, Dwayne Allen closed the door on a solid first year in the NFL.

Allen, a third-round draft pick by the Colts, finished fourth among Indianapolis pass catchers with 45 receptions for 521 yards. He was also tied for third on the team with three touchdown catches.

In support his former Clemson teammate, the former Mackey Award winning tight end made an appearance at Tajh Boyd's Wednesday press conference. Afterwards, Allen entertained listeners with stories from his first season in the NFL.

Welcome to the NFL…
Among the more entertaining anecdotes shared by any NFL player are the ‘Welcome to the NFL' moments.

Allen made his way through training camp and the preseason without experiencing his. On his first play on the punt team, Bears special team dynamo Blake Costanzo served as the league's ambassador to Allen.

"I drop back in my set and all of a sudden a guy just blindsides me from the side. I go to get up and he just drills me again," Allen said. "I'm on the ground. At that point, I say forget the punt. I stand up, slam dude. Just keep slamming him on the ground.

"Devin Hester could have taken it to the crib, I wouldn't have cared. That was definitely my welcome to the NFL moment."

Drilling a legend…
Only a select few players have the opportunity to play in the playoffs during their first year in the league. Allen is now among them.

After finishing 11-5 in the regular season, the Colts squared off with the Ravens in the AFC wild-card game. Despite losing 24-9, Allen introduced himself to a future Hall of Famer in the early stages of last weekend's game.

"The first opportunity I was given to make a mark, put my foot down in history, I did it," Allen said.

Indeed he did, delivering a vicious pancake block to Ray Lewis.

"He bleeds just like I bleed. He is just a man…that's been one of the surprising things throughout this season. You sit back and you see certain people, you see how the media builds certain people up," Allen said. "You get the opportunity to play against them and you're like, this wasn't all that it's cracked up to be.

"Luckily, this year, I've been more surprised than on my back. That's the reason I've had so much success."

A good story…
From being drafted by the same team that took Andrew Luck first overall, to Chuck Pagano's battle with cancer and the surprising playoff run by the Colts, it's been one heck of a first season in the league for Allen.

"Great first season, I couldn't have asked for anything more," he said. "I went into this thing with no expectations at all. That's kind of the best way to play, no expectations, no worries.

"We just went out every weekend and did the best we could [and] ended up winning 11 when it was all said and done."

Thinking back to his draft process…
As Boyd debated to stay for another year at Clemson or enter the NFL Draft, he consulted Allen for advice. It was just last year that Allen was faced with the same decision.

Unlike Boyd, Allen opted to leave school. And though he wasn't selected as early as initially planned, Allen feels he ended up in a good situation.

"I received a first-round grade. But, just because I received that first-round grade, I didn't get drafted in the first-round," Allen said. "I ended up getting drafted in the third round, which is still a blessing, because I ended up with one of the best quarterbacks -- the best quarterback, in my opinion -- from this past class."

In the first-round, the Colts selected Andrew Luck. His Stanford teammate, tight end Coby Fleener, was selected in the second. Thirty spots later, Allen was off the board.

Two tight ends in the first three rounds, the move raised plenty of eyebrows. Allen kept his head down and went to work.

"I didn't leave school early to be a backup tight end or to be someone who spells someone. I left school to be that guy," Allen said. "The Colts' organization blessed me with a great opportunity to go out and play every Sunday. I've just been taking advantage of it."

He credited the Clemson coaching staff for setting him up to succeed at the next level.

"That goes to talk about the coaching staff we have here at Clemson. Coach [Dabo] Swinney has done a great job of preparing guys for the next level," Allen said.

He added, "Coach [Danny] Pearman prepared me for anything. Like Tajh said, we're modern day gladiators. Coach Pearman did a great job of preparing for what I was going to have to deal with in the NFL. I've just been an example of what he can do to almost any tight end." Top Stories