Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen would not be playing football today if it weren't for the football coach at the high school he attended stopping him in the hallway asking for his name.
Allen told Phil Richards of USA TODAY that he was approached by Terry Sanford High School's first-year football coach, Wayne Inman, early his freshman year.
Inman asked Allen if he played football. Allen told him no. Inman excused himself and then returned with a $10 bill, which he put in Allen's hand.
"Buy yourself a bag of dope," Inman told Allen, "or spend it on a physical and come on out for football."
Allen, who grew up without a father, said that day "Changed my life."
"I wish I could say the rest is history, but he raised me," Allen said. "He told me after my freshman campaign on J.V. I was going to be his tight end. He told me I could play in college, and not only could I play in college but I could play on Sundays.
"He put it all in me then, as a freshman in high school. He told me all that. Coach Inman is my dad. He turned my life around."
Allen became a Rivals four-star recruit at Sanford. As a redshirt junior at Clemson, Allen won the John Mackey Award, presented annually to college football's top tight end.
Allen left Clemson his junior year to pursue the NFL.
"You're in college and you watch TV and you see these guys and you just wonder: Can I? Can I play there with them?" Allen said. "At the end of my junior year, I knew I was ready. I needed to be challenged. I needed something more."
As a rookie with the Colts, Allen has impressed his coaches and teammates.
"He's blocking, he's catching, he's doing everything a true tight end does," Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "I think for a young player you couldn't do any more than Dwayne has done. He can do it all."
Allen, a third-round draft pick, has started 15 games this season for the Colts. He has 43 receptions for 500 yards and three touchdowns.