Keenan Allen was a ‘snap away’ from quitting NFL

Keenan Allen has made himself a household name — and contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year — with a terrific first-year campaign.

But his fairytale season didn’t begin in like manner.

Buried on the Chargers’ depth chart, Allen spent the preseason working behind the veteran receivers. He’d get his reps, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to start. And didn’t.

This led to an emotional phone call with his mother.

“‘I need help. I’m losing. I’m about to quit,'” Allen recalled to the Union-Tribune San Diego. “(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.”

Allen’s mom convinced her son to keep the faith, which he did. But when he saw zero offensive snaps in Week 1, the thoughts of quitting once again crept into his mind — this time two-fold.

“After I didn’t play after that first game, I was about another snap away of not playing from quitting,” Allen said.

Allen admitted he didn’t know how he’d break the news to the team, who used a third-round selection on the former Cal product. If not football, Allen says he would’ve pursued a career as a music producer.

Fortunately, he got his break in Week 2, when San Diego receivers Malcom Floyd and Denario Alexander were lost for the season to injuries.

Since that point, Allen has become Philip Rivers‘ top target, racking up a team-leading 957 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

“It’s crazy,” Allen said. “I came a long way.”

(Photo credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (
  • Rocky

    your superstar receiver keenan allen,you are supercharger for life.keep it up….

  • titan4eva

    He’s a rookie and he was ready to quit after the first game? Alot of rookies don’t get to play at the beginning….calm down……so when things go bad he’ll want to quit again?

  • Dan

    Ok wuss. Geez, talk about a rich kid never having to work for anything in his life. Lucky you have the talent. Too bag you will be stuck in SD only to never make the playoffs. Should be ok for you though as you have already proven you are a me first guy.

    • James

      Well, too bad, they made it. And now all the Pittsburgh fans are using their terrible towels as hankies.

  • Keenan Allen is one reason the Chargers are still contenders for a playoff spot. Nothing in life is given to you. you go out and earn it. He is the Offensive Rookie of the Year without question. Maybe he will learn from this experience that you tough it out if you are under adverse conditions. You eventually will get through it and succeed. Without his contributions due to losses of Floyd and Alexander we are going nowhere.

  • Look who he’s playing for! The Chokers musta promised him a ring like they did for Teo and his imaginery girfriend.

  • bill crandall

    That’s it Keenan you Loser, when the going gets tough QUIT. Go ask mommy what to do. You are the only Charger happy to see team mates go down. Heres to a torn ACL for you so that guy on the bench gets a chance. QUIT you baby.

  • Ennisfor

    Yeah, little to no respect for this guy. Go out and earn it, rather than pitch a fit because you aren’t starting. Talk about a sense of entitlement.

  • JD

    Keenan: I understand what you might be going thru as being a starter all your life. But, now you know how the players you passed up on the bench. And you didn’t care about their feeling as long you played. You didn’t know their feelings everyday coming to practice after practice without getting a start. So you have your lesson on teamwork as a player. So always keep faith, hope & love in the game & your team you playing for in the future.