Keenan Allen almost left before he got his chance.
Christopher Hanewinckel/Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA
The NFL can be a shock to rookies. Players who starred and contributed immediately at every level are suddenly relegated to the sidelines in many cases.
For Chargers rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen, it almost became too much to bear. The third-round draft pick arrived in San Diego and found a glut of receiving options competing for playing time. With the likes of Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd already established in the passing game, Allen faced a tough road to even see the field.
In fact, he initially thought his prospects were hopeless after struggling at times during training camp. He called his mother and expressed his doubts.
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"I need help, I’m losing. I’m about to quit," Allen recalled to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "(I wasn’t) living up to my expectations of starting. I’ve never been a role player-type guy. Not easy at all. … I’ve never had to do it before. I never had to adjust."
Things got worse when Allen didn’t play during the Chargers’ regular-season opening loss to the Texans.
"After I didn’t play after that first game, I was about another snap away of not playing from quitting," Allen said.
You see, Allen has another love besides football. He has a love for music and strongly considered going to back to school (at Cal) and finish his degree and pursue his dream of working in the music business. You can see his passion for it below:
Anyway, his mother convinced him to stick around and wow, what a wise move. Injuries decimated the Chargers’ receiving corps and pushed Allen out on the field. The results have been nothing less than extraordinary.
Allen has compiled a team-high 957 receiving yards and is among the favorites for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Now, there’s a lesson buried somewhere here. It probably speaks more to the current generation of young adults, who seem to expect to go right from college into a high-powered job. But that’s not how the real world works.
So, smarten up. Come in, keep your head down and work hard. And who knows, when you least expect it, you’ll get that tap on the shoulder. Just don’t quit before you get that chance.