Dividing his time between football and the track certainly didn’t hurt Devon Allen’s fitness.
He said that might have helped.
Allen, the 27-year-old Eagles rookie receiver, ran the third-fastest time in track and field history in the 110-meter hurdles on Sunday.
Allen, a two-time Olympic hurdler, ran 12.84 with a legal wind of 1.6 meters per second at the New York Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City.
He beat Olympic silver medalist Grant Holloway, who placed second in 13.06.
“When I’m doing so many things — like football and athletics, trying to balance them both — I have to be really mindful of my recovery, my sleep, my diet, everything like that,” Allen said. to reporters after the race.
“So it locked me in a bit more, and obviously it works.”
Allen missed the world record by 0.04 seconds. His time is faster than any Olympic hurdle race ever contested.
“I thought I could break the record today,” he said. “Clean up a few little things, and four hundredths of a second is four thousandths of a second per hurdle, which is so small. We’ll have to wait for another race.”
American Aries Merritt set the world record of 12.80 in 2012 at the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels, Belgium. The only other time faster than Allen’s belongs to Holloway, who ran 12.81 last June at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Allen’s previous fastest time was 12.99 at the Borisa Hanžekovića Memorial Meet in Zagreb, Croatia last September.
In the space of less than 13 seconds, he went from 69th place in world history to third.
Holloway came out of the blocks faster on Sunday and led through six hurdles. Allen even cleared the seventh hurdle and gained two meters over the world indoor record holder and 2019 world champion.
“It’s been there,” he said of his fitness level. “We’ve been doing it in training for six weeks. I just needed fresh legs after OTAs in football. I had fun with the boys playing football, now they run fast.
Allen tested positive for COVID two weeks ago on Sunday and said he spent 10 days away from OTAs and track training before being cleared last week.
“I think COVID is not good because your body is trying to recover, but it was fine for me to get up for seven to 10 days and do nothing,” he said.
“It worked. I feel good and now I can start preparing for the USA and the Worlds.”
He said he plans to race twice in Europe over the next two weeks before returning for the US Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene from June 23-26 and then the World Championships at the same track from June 15-24. July.
He is scheduled to report to Eagles training camp on July 26.
The Eagles signed Allen as a wide receiver in April, even though he hasn’t played football since 2016. He caught 54 passes for 919 yards and eight touchdowns in 23 games at Oregon and also had in averaged 26.1 yards on kick returns.
Takeoff Podcast with John Clark last week, Allen said football training and track training weren’t that different.
“I train to be explosive and as strong as possible on the track,” Allen said. “And that’s pretty much what I will do in football.
“For the most part, I think my job will be to be the fast guy,” Allen said. “I’m one of the fastest men in the world, so I have to be able to show that on the pitch. It’s something I hope to do.