Rodney Allen rips off a hearty chuckle at this scribe's statement. "Thank God!" Allen says with a wide grin.
The defensive lineman's road from the University of Kansas to the Green Bay Packers definitely followed the road less traveled. He was an honorable mention on the all-Big 12 team as a junior in 2005, then started his senior season strong. He had two tackles for loss and two sacks in the opener and a TFL and sack in Game 2.
A shoulder injury in that second game, however, took the thunder out of Allen's game. While he played in all 12 games, he never was a force.
"And then after the season, I had surgery, and I couldn't do pro day or anything, so I wound up sitting out a whole year," Allen explained. "I called my agent and told him to find me a team. Find me somewhere to play, find me somewhere to get me some film."
His agent hooked Allen up with the Odessa (Texas) Roughriders of something called the Intense Football League.
"I played in that little league, and I'm happy I did!" Allen said.
The Intense Football League isn't exactly on the radars of NFL scouts. So, how did Allen get from a rinky-dink arena league to one of the NFL's hallmark franchises?
"Determination and making my own highlight film," said Allen, who was a first-team all-IFL selection after posting team highs of 7.5 sacks and 11 TFLs. "I put it on YouTube, I was calling people, I was telling my agent to call people. He called a friend here and told him to go see it, and they saw it on YouTube and gave me a tryout. So, here I am."
Allen made his practice debut on Tuesday, and looked impressive in one-on-one pass-rushing drills. He expects to play tonight at Denver. For someone with such a thin football resume — plus, being so far behind his teammates in terms of practice reps and knowledge of the playbook — Allen is confident but not cocky.
"I'm happy to be here," he said on Wednesday, with a long day of studying ahead of him. "I'm going to tell you, all I have to do is learn all the skill with the hands and the technique and change my stance, and I should be OK."
With the Packers short on healthy defensive tackles, the 6-foot-2, 315-pound Allen's chance to impress likely will come in the final preseason game against Tennessee. The Packers' front-line players don't figure to get too many reps, and Titans coach Jeff Fisher prefers to give his starters a ton of snaps in the finale.
Asked if he's excited to get this opportunity, Allen says, "Oh, yeah," followed by another hearty laugh. "I'm very excited. I'm very, very excited."
Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at email@example.com