Eagles’ wide receiver Devon Allen posts third-fastest 110-meter hurdles time ever

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Devon Allen, a two-time Olympic hurdler, took the Philadelphia Eagles’ “Fly like an Eagle” mantra to another level Sunday at the USA Track & Field NYC Grand Prix, running the third-fastest time ever in the 110-meter hurdles.

Allen, a former wide receiver at Oregon who signed with the Eagles as a free agent in April, overtook Grant Holloway, the silver medalist in the event at the Tokyo Olympics, with a time of 12.84 in the final, with Holloway finishing second in 13.06. Only Aries Merritt, who set the world record of 12.80 in 2012, and Holloway, who ran a 12.81 in last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials, have posted faster times in the event. Allen, whose previous personal best was 12.99, was shooting for the world best Sunday.

“I knew it was there,” Allen told NBC. “Just needed some fresh legs. I was doing OTAs [organized team activities] in Philly, having some fun with the boys playing football, but now I’m back in track mode.”

He’ll stay in that mind-set for the U.S. Championships June 23-26 and the World Championships July 15-24. Then he can pivot to the NFL at training camp with the Eagles, whom he impressed by running a 4.35 40 during Oregon’s pro day.

Allen, 27, has not played football since 2016. In three seasons with the Ducks, he caught 54 passes for 919 yards and eight touchdowns in 23 games. He opted to focus on track after knee injuries limited his football career, and finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles in the Rio Olympics and fourth at the Tokyo Games.

“When I had my last knee injury I decided I was going to focus on track through the next Olympics, actually took a year longer than I had planned because of covid, but now we’re here,” Allen told Oregon Live in April. “I’m going to put football on the back burner for now. I wanted to come to pro day and announce that I’m taking this seriously. 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.”

Although he signed a three-year contract, an Eagles’ wide receiver group featuring newly acquired A.J. Brown, as well as holdovers DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal and Jalen Reagor may be tough to crack. A reserve or practice squad role may be his landing spot, but his teammates, including former all-pro cornerback Darius Slay, are well aware of his speed.

“I know Slay is fast and a little older — I can’t talk much trash because I’m a 27-year-old rookie — but some of the guys have joked about racing me,” he recently told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s TakeOff with John Clark podcast. “I’m okay with that, but being a pro track athlete, I don’t race for free, so I said $10,000 a race — and so far no one’s taken me up on that.”

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