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Two-time Olympic finalist signs with NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles

Devon Allen previously declined the chance to play professional football to focus on track after university

Photo by: Yann Caradec

Three-time U.S. 110m hurdles champion and two-time Olympic finalist Devon Allen is leaving the track after the 2022 season to pursue a career in professional football, signing a deal with the Philadephia Eagles.

Devon Allen
Devon Allen at the 2017 World Championships in London. Photo: Spikes Magazine

Allen, 27, is a former wide receiver for the University of Oregon, helping the Oregon Ducks win the Pac-12 Championship in 2014. Allen had the chance to go pro after college, but passed on a chance to play in the NFL to become an Olympic sprint star.

At the University of Oregon’s NFL pro day, Allen told the media that his focus right now is to win the 110m hurdles at the 2022 World Championships in July.

The hurdler caught 54 passes for 921 yards and eight touchdowns over three seasons at Oregon, tearing his ACL on two separate occasions. When Allen returned after his second tear, he devoted himself to the track, winning both U.S. Olympic Trials and an NCAA championship in 2016.

Allen finished fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio with a time of 13.31 seconds and was fourth at 13.14 seconds in Tokyo five years later. In his last race of the 2021 season, Allen won his first Diamond League title, breaking the 13-second 110m hurdles barrier, becoming the 13th U.S. sprinter to do so.

Allen is not the only track and field to attempt a transition into professional football. Willie Gault, a member of the U.S. team that set a world 4x100m record of 37.86 at the inaugural World Athletics Championships in 1983, spent 11 years in the NFL as a wide receiver with the Chicago Bears and played on their 1985 Super Bowl-winning team.

The 1964 Olympic 100m champion, Bob Hayes, also played in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, helping them win Super Bowl VI in 1971.

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