Call it hyperbole if you like, but San Diego Chargers’ rookie sensation at wide receiver Keenan Allen came out with an interesting revelation in a recent interview. The wideout setting receiving records for rookies left and right while contributing to an unexpected playoff run for the Bolts was actually a fixture on the bench for the first week and barely played in Week 2 as well. That chain of events actually sparked the rookie out of California to consider a career path other than the gridiron as he told U-T San Diego:
“After I didn’t play after that first game, I was about another snap away of not playing from quitting.”
That Week 2 road tilt took place cross country against the Philadelphia Eagles where the Bolts were able to stage an impressive comeback and get Allen involved with two grabs for 34 yards. Thankfully he stuck it out and has since become a cog in the San Diego receiving corps that the club really couldn’t do without. Season-ending injuries to both Danario Alexander in training camp and Malcom Floyd in Week 2 have paved the way for Allen to be heavily featured on offense. His performance in that role has given credence to Allen actually being the team’s No. 1 receiver heading into camp this coming offseason.
Just 45 yards on Sunday separate Allen from the Chargers record-book for rookie receiving yards that has stood since 1978. That’s a far cry from a player who nearly called it quits during training camp and through one week of action. This just goes to show that every player – no matter how skilled – is merely a human being susceptible to all of the strife that afflicts me or you on a daily basis. Allen was so discouraged that he nearly gave up on his dream of playing in the NFL, and looking back that seems absolutely preposterous to even think about.
There’s no doubt head coach Mike McCoy and quarterback Philip Rivers are thrilled that Allen decided to stick it out and fight through adversity this season. He’s become a reliable target with his precise route-running and sure hands that provides an outlet for the offense to move the chains on a regular basis. Following the Bolts’ big win on Thursday Night Football in Week 15 over the Denver Broncos, Rivers offered up this gem about the rookie to the crew at NFL Network saying:
“Keenan Allen’s two big plays… I mean, we’re third down-and-6, third down-and-8, and he catches two touchdowns. Some receivers know how to get in the end zone, and there was no way he wasn’t getting in the end zone on that [first] one. He just knows how to score, and he’s playing unbelievably.”
It sounds like Rivers is just as happy as the fans that Allen stuck with it and fought through the tough times at the beginning of the season. A win on Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs would give hope for this dream season continuing for quarterback and rookie wideout, and a little help would turn that next dream chapter into a reality.