March 31, 2014 by Fuzzy Dunlop
Eagles fans and coaching staff alike have long wondered why safety Nate Allen always seems confused and lost in coverage during games. He seems unable to actually see the receivers coming at him until they had already passed him and were on their way to a big gain. For years, he’s frustrated the team and the fans, but now the answer to the question, “WHAT IS HE DOING?” has been answered.
Near the end of last season, Allen was watching game film from this year and was utterly perplexed by the differences between his perception of his play and the events actually occurring on the field. He spent the offseason searching for answers high and low.
He watched hours of game film from safeties throughout the league, desperately searching for an answer, but his search was fruitless.
“I was close to giving up when the Encyclopedia of Football gave me no answers,” he said, speaking to reporters outside of his house, “but then I finally realized what my problem was.”
Allen, an avid supporter of groundhogs and hater of wintertime, decided to make the trip to Punxsutawney, Pa., to see Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day as he does every year.
“That was it. I was covering my own shadow this entire time. I can’t believe it,” Allen told reporters, shaking his head.
His teammates and fans spent last year wondering why Allen would often seem to be caught off guard by the existence of wide receivers as they passed him on the field, but the mystery is solved. Allen plans to consult Pete R. Pan, a doctor of shadow analytics from Oxford University, to help him move past this problem and improve his play.
Coach Pip Kelsey, when approached for comment, told reporters that he’s impressed by the improvement in Allen’s game since the discovery.
“I haven’t seen him stop this many pass attempts in his entire career with the Eagles. This week, he actually made a tackle and the entire team stopped to applaud him. It’s like a movie out here.”
The Eagles front office has been extraordinarily active in helping Allen with this transition to being a productive football player. In particular, they signed former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins to help Allen learn how to cover human beings rather than shadows.
Allen received a one-year, $2 million contract from the team March and has vowed to use a portion of his new deal to open a charity called “Shadow of Hope” to help youth football players suffering from his disability throughout the country.