The National Times - US Olympic hurdler Allen signs for Eagles

US Olympic hurdler Allen signs for Eagles

US Olympic hurdler Allen signs for Eagles
US Olympic hurdler Allen signs for Eagles

United States Olympic hurdler Devon Allen has signed a three-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, the club confirmed on Friday.

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Allen, a former wide receiver with the University of Oregon, has not played gridiron since 2016, preferring instead to concentrate on his athletics career.

The 27-year-old won the US Olympic trials in 2016, and placed fifth in the 110m hurdles at the Rio de Janeiro games.

He just missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, finishing in fourth place.

His college gridiron career was disrupted by knee injuries during his final two seasons, but he impressed in his first year with 41 receptions for 684 yards and seven touchdowns.

A technically sound hurdler blessed with explosive pace, Allen has long talked of pursuing an NFL career.

Allen told The Oregonian newspaper on Friday that he plans to compete at June's USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships before taking part in the World Championships -- which will be staged at his alma mater's historic Hayward Field Stadium in Eugene -- in July.

After that he plans to link up with the Eagles for pre-season training.

"I'm going to put football on the back burner for now," he told The Oregonian.

"The goal is to get ready for Worlds, compete at Worlds, win, break the world record, and then July 18th when Worlds is done, go to camp the next week."

Achieving success in athletics and American football is not without precedent, although it is rare for an athlete to do both simultaneously.

At the 2012 Olympics, Marquise Goodwin competed in the long jump before playing for the Buffalo Bills as a wide receiver the following year.

Others include Ron Brown, a member of the USA's 4x100 relay gold-medal winning team at the 1984 games who played seven seasons in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders.