Keenan Allen has been an imperative part of the Los Angeles Chargers offense for the past few years, but it didn't come with its share of peaks and valleys in his young career.
The California Golden Bear wide receiver was drafted in 2013 when the Chargers were in San Diego. Making his way up the depth chart in his rookie season, an unfortunate injury to Malcom Floyd allowed Allen's number to be called. In that moment is when he shined brightest and finished with Rookie of the Year honors with 1,046 yards, eight touchdowns, and 71 catches. The following year he continued to excel with 77 receptions, four touchdowns and 783 yards in just 14 games.
After a major ACL injury in the first game of the 2016 season, which caused him to miss the rest of the year, Allen was determined to come back stronger than ever.
"Just watching the guys, watching everyone compete last year," Allen said. "Just not being able to play and knowing I could help. Knowing when I'm on the field it's a little bit better."
Allen worked extremely hard in returning to the field, and never lost sight of the goal at hand.
Beyond his rehab, Allen had to adjust to not only getting on the field for the Bolts again, but where would his field be? The talk of the team moving out of San Diego to Los Angeles came to fruition. They're now in a new market, with some new fans, and a new head coach in Anthony Lynn. That meant different plays and satisfying the hunger to return to the field.
Allen has a great work ethic, and many times, Lynn raved on how Allen was eager to make his return in Organized Team Activities and training camp. Lynn joked about how they had to hold Allen back and pace himself in order for him to be ready in the regular season.
"I try to (pace myself)," Allen said in training camp. "I definitely feel 100 percent, but I'm (going to) definitely slow it down to keep my health up to be able to last this season."
Allen has one touchdown with 19 receptions for 196 yards in three games this season. He is a top-notch wideout looking to aid the Chargers in securing a win against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. The one area Allen wants to focus more on is the yards after the catch. He's determined to improve on gaining more in order to help his team.
A lot has changed for Allen in the last four season on and off the field. Besides him being a father of two young daughters, he recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend. On the field, he is still a young wideout but does have some veteran qualities.
"I think the game speed has changed (for me)," Allen said. "(I just) play comfortable, I don't think too much I don't worry about it, I just know the ins and outs of the game. I definitely feel like a vet, a lot of young guys around here, and I've been here the longest with the Chargers."
With that type of talent and work ethic it won't be long before we speak about him being a top five serious offensive threat. He also has other talents that can benefit the Bolts on the offense, with blocking and being a decoy on various plays.
"I want to get the ball every play like those other receivers like Terrell Owens and [Chad] Ochocinco did, but I understand that's not always going to happen," he said. "I'm not that type of player to demand it. I can impact the game a lot of other ways like blocking."
Allen caught three touchdowns against NFC opponents. He aims for his fourth in a row against the NFC with over 12 catches and 130 receiving yards.
The Chargers face the Eagles on Sunday at Stub Hub Center.