ANDERSON, Ind. — Dwayne Allen appreciates anyone who notices his leaner form at training camp.
The Indianapolis Colts’ fourth-year tight end has shed 13 pounds from last season and is particularly proud of shaping his 6-3, 255-pound body into a faster frame. So much so that he mentioned his changed weight to no avail to his employer, but the Colts still list him at 265 pounds.
“I’m glad everyone is noticing my physique, alright, because I worked hard on this body,” he said with a smile Saturday at Anderson University.
During offseason training activities, Allen received the Colts’ permission to work out for one month with a personal trainer in Arizona. He was convinced his workouts needed to be more specialized to better prepare a body that has suffered injuries to be stronger in dealing with the rigors of the position.
“From last year to this year, I’ve lost just over 13 pounds, just to get at a very comfortable playing weight, where I can still handle the in-line blocking stuff but also to get down and stretch the field a little bit more,” he said.
Told the roster listing of 265, Allen said with a smile, “It should be at 255 and I corrected that this spring. So I need to talk to whoever is in charge of the media guide, you know?”
The 2012 third-round draft choice is entering a contract year. He realizes this season’s importance and the impact it could have on his future. Tight ends Coby Fleener and Jack Doyle are also in contract years, so the Colts will have decisions to make on who to keep next offseason.
Allen and Fleener each caught eight touchdown passes last season. But Fleener has bigger career numbers in part because he’s played in 44 regular-season games, 14 more than Allen, who was lost for the 2013 season after one game due to a hip injury that required surgery. Allen has said the resulting rehabilitation the previous offseason prevented him from strengthening his body in specific areas to avoid minor injuries last season, when he played in 13 regular-season games.
In three seasons, Allen has 75 receptions for 936 yards and 12 TDs. Fleener, a second-round choice in 2013, has caught 129 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 TDs. Ideally, the Colts would like to keep both players, but with looming contracts expected to be paid to key players including wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo, the team might face salary cap issues by re-signing both tight ends.
Allen notices a difference in how he moves on the field.
“I feel a lot better, getting in and out of cuts, getting down the field, just getting up and down catching balls,” he said. “Just overall, I feel more comfortable in my skin and I’m able to go out and do my job the way I’m supposed to.”
He credits assistant strength and conditioning coach Richard Howell for the suggestion to lose the weight. Howell convinced him he played better when lighter.
“I was more worried about the guys that I was going against and how big they were, but decided to take his advice this offseason and cut some weight and so far, so good.
“I’m not sure I’m stronger, but I’m as strong as I was before. We’ll see if I’m stronger once we get into the season.”
Head coach Chuck Pagano likes what he’s seen so far, too.
“He looks great,” Pagano said Saturday. “When he flexes out and he gets in a wide receiver stance and they displace him in the formation, you can mistake him for a bigger wideout at times, he looks so good. But his movement skills are phenomenal right now. He’s feeling great, the hips, the knee, whatever he’s dealt with in the past, losing some weight has obviously helped him.”
Allen’s coach isn’t concerned about the tight end’s blocking being affected.
“He doesn’t have a choice,” Pagano said.
Allen hasn’t lost any of his aggressiveness?
“No,” Pagano said. “And don’t challenge him, OK?”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.