NFL hopeful Luke Allen has made a breakthrough after being selected for the Major League Football – a professional American Football league.
The former Simonstone St Peter’s Primary pupil recently attended a specialist kicking combine in Arizone, as he looked to earn a pro deal in the sport.
The 23-year-old punter, who earned a workout with the New York Jets last year, admits things didn’t go totally to plan on the day.
But while his NFL dreams were dashed for the time being, he took a step in the right direction after being picked for the MLFB, a spring football league based in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, consisting of eight teams, founded by former New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Wes Chandler – a four-time Pro Bowl selection, who holds the NFL record for most receiving yards per game in a season.
Luke, who starred for Stony Brook Seawolves at university, was drafted onto the Team Geis roster, under head coach Wayne “Buddy” Geis, who worked with the likes of Jim Harbaugh at the Indianapolis Colts, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin at the Dallas Cowboys, and, at Georgia Tech, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, who went on to star for the Detroit Lions.
The league aims to give players a shop window to impress NFL clubs, and Luke said: “Training went really well, I feel great and right where I need to be.
“The combine unfortunately didn’t go quite as planned, as, for some reason, it was my turn to have an off day. But it’s not the end of the world.
“I actually ended up getting picked up by the spring league, the MLFB, which I really think could be a blessing.
“The league has been backed by a significant investment. There’s eight teams, featuring in a 10-game season, all aiming to showcase guys before the NFL preseason begins, and hoping to place players in preseason camps.
“I’m excited, I’ll be headed down to Florida on Sunday, where pre season will start, and I’ll be competing for a starting punter role at Virginia Beach.
“Given the setup of the combine, over 70 players in attendance, I think this league will give me better exposure, including recent game film and stats.”
Luke lived between Simonstone and Padiham on Higham Road before his family moved to Port Jefferson in August 2004.