Devon Allen laments 'unfortunate' rule that led to track DQ, thinks he can run a 4.1 40 in NFL

·4 min read

Devon Allen is disappointed, but he's not letting Sunday's controversial disqualification at the World Athletics Championships get him down. He doesn't have time to dwell with his shot at the NFL approaching.

The U.S. hurdler spoke with "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday, two days after heartbreak on his home track saw him eliminated from the 110-meter world championship — basically for being too fast.

In case you missed it, Allen qualified for the final, but got out of the starting block .001 second faster than allowed, registering a false start — even though he didn't move until after the starting gun. World Athletics rules determine that any start within .1 second of the starting gun sounding is a false start.

"When I got the red card in my lane, I was pretty confused," Allen said. "So obviously, that's why I walked over to the official. I wanted to see the reaction. I wanted to see the video that they had of me starting as well."

Here's video of the incident, which shows no discernible visual evidence of Allen starting before his competitors. He definitely didn't start before the gun.

A computerized system involving digital starting blocks — not a human judge — makes the false start determination. And its decision is final.

"It's really unfortunate that that's the rule," Allen continued. "I understand the rule. It's in place so there's no false starts.

"But not to have a little bit of leeway for margin of error or anything that goes on for a thousandth of a second kind of is a little bit frustrating because I didn't get a chance to compete."

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Allen explained to Patrick that a quick start is part of his edge — that he's regularly one of the fastest starters in his field. On Sunday he was too fast for the rulebook while competing on the Hayward Field track he called home as a University of Oregon student-athlete.

"Overall, usually, if you look at all my reaction times, I'm probably in the top 1-5% of all sprinters at every competition I'm at," Allen said. "Usually I'm just a quick reactor to the gun. This weekend, obviously, it's a huge competition for me, world championships in Eugene, Oregon. I'm probably gonna react a little more quickly than normal. "

Devon Allen, of the United States, competes in a semi-final heat in the men's 110-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Devon Allen does not lack speed — or confidence — as he shifts gears to Philadelphia Eagles training camp. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Allen thinks he can be a burner in the NFL

Allen, 27, told Patrick that the event wasn't the end of his track career, but he's shifting his focus now to Philadelphia Eagles training camp that starts on July 26. Allen also played football at Oregon, where he was far from a star while tallying 54 catches for 919 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons.

But his elite speed caught the attention of the Eagles, who signed him after he ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at Oregon's pro day in April. Now the question is begged: can he actually play at an NFL level after not playing football at all since the 2016 season at Oregon? He made his case to Patrick.

"I think the good thing is I haven't been getting beat up in the NFL for six years," Allen said. "And the good thing is I'm probably the fastest, most athletic I've been in my career. I'm much faster than I was in college."

While he has a deal, he'll have to earn his roster spot at training camp. He told Patrick that he believes he can stretch the field on offense as a receiver and potentially provide value as punt or kick returner. You can't teach speed, after all. And Allen says that he's even faster than his pro-day time after a full season of track training. Like, really fast.

"I'm probably at least a tenth faster if not more, so probably 4.2," Allen said of his projected 40-yard dash time. "If I practice a little bit, I'd like to say 4.1."

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