Jaguars linebacker suffered career-ending stroke during game

Russell Allen suddenly finds himself out of pro football.

Ron Chenoy/Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Allen is proof that an NFL career can end in an instant.

The Jaguars linebacker was doing his thing in Week 15 against the Bills last season when a collision with Buffalo’s Eric Wood changed everything.


"It was strange because it was so routine," Allen told "We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash — like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn’t lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive."

Allen didn’t know it at the time, but he had suffered a stroke. What’s worse is he kept playing and finished the game. It wasn’t until a headache persisted until the next day that Allen got himself checked out and was diagnosed.

"If I could go back in time, I would do it differently," Allen said. "Being in it and knowing how I felt in that moment, the game feels so serious. You’re thinking, I can’t come out, because what if someone else comes in and takes my job? Or they need me out there, and I can’t come out because I really want to win. But you can’t do that, and I learned that the hard way."

Allen, 27, won’t get a chance to return to the field for the Jaguars as the team released him last week. Doctors have advised him to never play football again. However, it doesn’t mean he’s alone as head coach Gus Bradley and GM David Caldwell have both been in touch with Allen to express their sympathies and sorrow over the team’s decision.

"It gave me closure. Gus said I’d always be a part of this, no matter what. Dave said I could come back to Jacksonville whenever I wanted. Now I think I can watch again," Allen said.