Earlier this offseason, the Indianapolis Colts opted to re-sign tight end Dwayne Allen over Coby Fleener in free agency.
Allen admitted that the move surprised him, but he was happy to return when he realized the Colts actually wanted him. Everyone seems to realize the tight end's potential when he's on the field - as Chuck Pagano said this week, Allen is "a damn good tight end" and can do everything the Colts want a tight end to do.
The problem, as everyone knows, is Allen's health. Whether or not you want to consider Allen 'injury-prone' or not, here are the facts: Allen missed 15 games in 2013, three games in 2014, and three games in 2015 while playing injured at other times throughout those seasons. That means that in each of the past three seasons Allen has missed at least three games, and it will be more noticeable this year if he again misses time since Fleener isn't there to help fill in. Fans know Allen needs to stay healthy, media members know it, the Colts know it, and Allen knows it. And that's his goal for the 2016 season: to stay healthy.
1070 the Fan's Conrad Brunner asked Allen this week what Allen expects from himself this year. His answer? “To use all of my resources to make sure I am on the field for all 16 to 20 games.”
We've seen Allen spend past offseasons training with the focus of getting healthy, and that included training away from the team last year during offseason workouts. This year, Allen is around during the voluntary workouts as he continues his same focus. He has publicly praised the new training staff and hopefully that will help him reach more success in staying healthy.
There are some things in sports that are unpredictable, and injuries are among them. But for a guy like Allen who has been plagued by injuries in recent years, there is certainly some benefit to be had from training with that in mind. If he's on the field, odds are that he will play at a high level and will validate the Colts' decision to re-sign him. But again, he has to stay on the field, and that's his biggest goal for 2016.