Top Return Specialist David Allen Visits Bucs

March 23 - David Allen, who was one of the college football's all-time great punt returners at Kansas State, visited One Buccaneer Place on Friday. The Bucs and the Minnesota Vikings are bidding for his services. Tampa Bay would use him as a punt/kick returner and a change-of-pace back on third downs if he signs with the team.

Former Kansas State running back and punt return specialist David Allen visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. Allen, who is one of the best return men in college football history, is deciding between signing with the Minnesota Vikings and the Bucs.

With free agent receiver/returner Karl Williams not expected to return, the Bucs are looking for a player with punt return abilities, and possibly kick return skills. Allen would bring that dimension and could also be a third-down back with his pass catching prowess. He lined up as a slot receiver for the Wildcats on occasion earlier in his career.

Allen (5-foot-9, 192 pounds) was an explosive return man at Kansas State, and tied the NCAA record with seven punt returns for touchdowns in his career. He set an NCAA mark by returning a punt for a touchdown in three straight games during his sophomore year. He left the Wildcats with a 16-yard career punt return average. Allen, a shifty, slashing type of runner who has great acceleration into the open field, led the nation in punt returns as a sophomore with a 22.1-yard average.

Allen suffered a severely sprained ankle as a senior which forced him to miss four games. He was slow to recover from the injury and ran a woeful 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine in 2001 which prevented him from being drafted. He wound up in the San Francisco 49ers training camp, but failed to make the team.

But Allen was healthy and in tremendous shape on March 11 at the K-State pro day workout where he ran a blistering 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and impressed with a 33-inch vertical jump and 19 reps of benching 225 pounds.

Allen also has some kick return ability, averaging 26.9 yards per return at K-State. Injuries and his importance as a returner limited his rushing opportunities, but he did have 168 carries for 783 yards (4.7 avg.) and eight touchdowns with the Wildcats.

The Vikings are also in need of a return specialist, but two of Allen's K-State teammates, kicker Martin Gramatica and receiver Frank Murphy, are in Tampa Bay and that may give the Bucs an edge when he makes his decision.

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