Any tight end who joins the New England Patriots knows he’ll be playing in the considerable shadow of Rob Gronkowski. Dwayne Allen has no problem with that.
The Patriots acquired Allen from the Indianapolis Colts in a trade Wednesday to fill the hole left by Martellus Bennett, who plans to sign elsewhere in free agency. In his introductory conference call, Allen said he can’t wait to play alongside Gronkowski, whom he considers the NFL’s top tight end.
“I’m extremely excited about joining the ranks with Rob,” Allen said Friday. “He, of course, is the best tight end in the National Football League, so I think there is a lot that I can learn from him. I have been in situations where I’ve split time with other tight ends. I’m not sure what my role is going to be, but I’m excited just to get to work and learn from everyone around me.”
Allen also gave his take on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who finished second in NFL MVP voting this season as a 39-year-old. Poor QB play rarely has been an issue for Allen during his NFL career — he’s used to catching passes from Andrew Luck, after all — but he called the opportunity to work with Brady “an honor.”
“Watching Tom from afar has been unbelievable,” Allen said. “I’ve always regarded him as one of, if not the best, quarterback in the National Football League. To have the opportunity to work with him and learn from him is an honor. Most guys dream about opportunities just to work with a ‘G.O.A.T.’, as the term has been thrown around now. I consider the same thing an honor and just look forward to hitting the field and working hard.”
Allen is coming off one of the better statistical seasons of his career, catching 35 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns after tallying just 16 catches for 109 yards and one score in 2015. The 27-year-old is best known for his ability as a blocker, however, which he views as his greatest attribute.
“I really believe that it’s a lost art in the game,” Allen said, “especially at the tight end position where the league and other teams have gone to more of a receiving tight end. I take pride in it. It’s something that I work at daily. I want to be not only the best blocking tight end, but I want to be the best blocker on my team. That takes hard work. It takes attention to detail and really working at my technique. ”
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