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Marcus Allen to be honored as San Diego 'Hometown Hall of Famer'

March 06, 2012|By Sam Farmer
  • Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen runs down the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1984.
Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen runs down the field against… (Alvin Chung / Allsport )

Marcus Allen will be honored in San Diego on Tuesday as part of “Hometown Hall of Famers,” a national program sponsored by Allstate Insurance to honor the hometown roots of football’s best players.

Allen, who grew up in San Diego, will be presented with a plaque during a 1:45 p.m. ceremony at his alma mater, Lincoln High School. Students, faculty and Allen’s former teammates will attend.

The Heisman Trophy-winning tailback from USC was selected 10th by the Los Angeles Raiders and ended his career in Kansas City, reaching six Pro Bowls and, in 2003, the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Allen was a quarterback in high school, and before that played on the other side of the ball.

“I started as a defensive back,” he said. “When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be Lem Barney. I played defensive back or linebacker most of my Pop Warner days. I played running back one year and fared fairly well, I scored over 30 touchdowns when I was 11. But that was the last time I ever played running back.

“In high school, I started as a defensive player. I played quarterback, but I loved defense so much, I wanted to be Jack Tatum. I wanted to hit people.”

Briefly, Allen was kicked off his high school team because he didn’t want to play quarterback. He intentionally fumbled eight consecutive snaps to send a message to his coach. The coach, in turn, sent him packing.

“I went home to appeal to my father,” Allen said. “I said, 'Can you believe it? I’m the best player in San Diego and this guy kicks me off the team?’ And my father said, 'That’s between you two.' I had to go back and apologize, and I was reinstated.

“I go back and look at that, and think if I never played quarterback in high school, I don’t think USC would have ever thought I could play running back.”

So, in a sense, San Diego is where Allen’s career began – and almost ended.

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