Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon is a textbook example of what not to do as a young star trying to deal with success.
Luckily for the San Diego Chargers, they have a different young star playing receiver for them, and he’s seems to be handling success just fine.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Chargers rookie Keenan Allen, handles his recent success by staying humble and ignoring the press:
Not reading articles. Not getting into the media with what they’re talking about. … Just staying out of that. Just try to get better. Keep staying humbled. Keep staying grounded.
At just 21-years-old, Allen is the youngest player on the Chargers roster. He was viewed as a top receiving prospect in last years draft until a knee injury scared many teams off. The Chargers were happy to select Allen in the third round, and the gamble is paying off. In the last four games, Allen has risen up the depth chart and has caught 23 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns.
This is especially surprising considering Allen’s spring struggles. During OTAs, Allen was overweight and sloppy, still recovering from his knee injury. However, he changed all that by the time training camp rolled around.
Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt had the following to say about the up-and-coming star:
I think it became more serious for him. I think he realized the way he was going wasn’t going to get him playing time. A lot of that is the leadership you see at that position, guys who are serious about the position. Danario (Alexander), Malcom (Floyd), Vincent (Brown), Eddie (Royal) — those are serious guys. You look at that and say, ‘I’ve got to change something about the way I’m doing it.’
Now, he understands. Guys are counting on him. It’s been a different approach for him. It’s great to see a young guy grow up.
It does help that starters Alexander and Floyd were lost for the year. However, Allen has made the most of his opportunities so far this season. His effort has caught the attention of his teammates, including future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates:
I knew he was good, but I’ve never seen this. I didn’t think it would evolve this fast. He is making plays in the game, and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ …
You don’t really expect it. They talk about his speed and this and that. The boy can play football, and he can get open. All that stuff about speed. If you can play and get open, that’s what wins games for you. That’s what makes plays for you. You can get a dog to run and jump. You know what I mean? That’s what this league has underestimated.
I’m sure Philip Rivers and the Chargers are hoping Allen will continue to get open this Sunday on the road against the Washington Redskins.