NOTE: Scroll to the bottom for the latest updates and Jason’s email address so you can send him some good cheer.
If you’re wondering what cornerback Jason Allen means to the Tennessee Volunteer Football team, well, just have a look at this picture, taken just after Allen failed to get up after making a tackle in Saturday’s game against Georgia:
When he still didn’t get up after about ten minutes, the entire team gathered in prayer:
I was sitting in the same seats last year when, again just before halftime, Erik Ainge suffered a season-ending injury to his shoulder.
That was bad.
This was worse.
We see injuries all the time. Some of them even cut short a promising college football career.
But Jason Allen last year decided to postpone a promising and lucrative NFL career to come back and play for the Vols. He didn’t intend to forego it.
Everything I’ve heard about Jason Allen is that he’s a solid, Christian young man with his priorities straight. A fierce competitor when the ball is snapped, he is the epitome of good sportsmanship, patting opponents on the backside after knocking the snot out of them. He is admired as much by those opponents as he is by his teammates.
Allen could have left school early and earned millions playing in the NFL this year, but instead, he chose to return to lead the Vols’ championship run. This season, he basically played two positions at once. He somehow racked up safety-like tackle statistics while also shutting down every opponent’s best receiver from his cornerback position. He’s led by example and vocally inspired the Vols’ secondary to show everyone that they are not the team’s greatest weakness, but one of the team’s strengths.
And there he was, lying on the turf. Surrounded by trainers. Both teams kneeling in prayer before a shocked-into-silence crowd of 108,000 fans and admirers. You could almost see the question on his face as he surveyed the crowd through watering eyes: Is this goodbye?
There’s not much information available yet about the extent of Allen’s injury. The Volunteer Nation and football fans everywhere are praying that it’s not a serious as the bent backwards, sideways twisted collision made it appear.
Tennessee fans enjoyed watching Jason Allen play four and a half games in a Volunteer uniform this season. If it’s his last for the Vols, quite frankly, that’s okay.
Just pray that being a Vol hasn’t cost him a career.
I’ve searched but haven’t found a very good place to leave comments for Jason. If you have any encouraging words, please post them by clicking on the “comments” link below. If you know of a better place, let me know, and I’ll direct readers there. Any gripes about the game in the comments for this post will be deleted — this is not the place. This is about Jason Allen. The person.
Jason Allen Links
- Video Profile from GoVolsXtra.com (subscription required)