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Athletes have juggled two professional sports before. Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson played professional baseball and football, and Renaldo Nehemiah, the first 110-meter hurdler to run under 13 seconds, played for the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons. But none of those athletes suffered grueling injuries on the football field before trying the juggling act.
There is also the lure of the N.F.L. salary. The minimum wage for an N.F.L. player is $660,000. In professional track, no governing body sets a minimum standard for pay. Runners, the luckiest among them, at least, sign contracts with athletic brands that pay them, and they win prize money from different races. Some professional track athletes have been reported to make as little as $5,000 a year.
“I’m doing pretty well for myself in track, so it’s not it’s not about the money,” Allen said. “That’s not a motivating factor at all. Since I was a little kid, I wanted to play in the N.F.L., and I got my opportunity.”
Allen signed a three-year $2.5 million contract with the Eagles. But just $40,000 is guaranteed if Allen fails to make the final 53-man roster, according to OverTheCap. And that’s far from a sure bet. He proved to be a gifted receiver at Oregon, leading the team in touchdown catches as a sophomore. Still, Allen will be joining one of the best wide receiver groups in the N.F.L., led by the former Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown and the first-round pick DeVonta Smith. There’s also the chance he could play on special teams; he thrived as a gunner on punt and kick returns at Oregon.
Lubik is confident that Allen will find a way to make the Eagles roster and shock the Philadelphia coaches, the same way he did Oregon coaches years ago.
“Every time you think he can’t do something, you challenge him. Not only does he do it, but he blows it away,” Lubik said, noting how Allen unexpectedly became Oregon’s go-to recover as a junior and has found success after two A.C.L. surgeries. “That’s why even with the challenge of the N.F.L., you can never count that guy out. I can see him being a big-time guy in the N.F.L.”