There were plenty of reasons Keenan Allen was thrilled when he was drafted in the third round by the San Diego Chargers.
Among others, he relished the opportunity to play with Philip Rivers, remain in California and enter an offense he thought had the chance to be something special.
However, one reason some may not know is that he became a big fan of the Chargers due to his wide receivers coach his final year at Cal; the legendary Wes Chandler, who is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame.
“He was always talking about the San Diego Chargers so I felt comfortable when I was drafted here, I knew I was coming into a good organization and that everything was going to be run the way it is supposed to be run. I know it’s a business, but I knew I was coming into a great situation.”
So what was it like to learn at the hands of the Chargers’ great? Keenan’s response, “it was dope.”
“It was pretty dope to learn from a legend like him, just to learn his precision and techniques and everything he could throw at me, he’s a Hall of Famer for the San Diego Chargers so I tried to take it all in. We built a great relationship and I still talk to him now.”
Chandler played seven seasons for the Bolts from 1981-87. He caught 373 balls for 6,132 yards and 41 touchdowns. Chandler also holds the top two spots in Chargers history for most receiving yards in a single game, recording 260 against the Bengals in 1982 and 243 vs. the Seahawks in 1985. A three-time Pro Bowler with the Bolts, at the time of his retirement he ranked 12th in NFL history in receiving yards and 13th in receptions. So far, Allen is off to a stellar start of his own Chargers’ career. He has 26 receptions for 399 yards and two touchdowns.
Besides growing close on a personal level, Allen is eternally grateful he got to have one year under Chandler’s tutelage, stating that he helped him develop into a far better receiver.
“He is pretty much my mentor, so to be able to follow his footsteps and come to the Chargers, that is special for me, he taught me how to get in and out of my breaks faster and how not to lose a step when getting out of my break. He taught me about head deception and how to look off a defender by not looking where I’m going but to look him in the eye instead.”
Overall, Allen couldn’t imagine what type of receiver he’d be without his year paired with Chandler.
“I think I’d be a very different player, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity I was given to learn from him and get to know him.”
Allen is off to a great start and with a quarterback like Rivers, could become to Rivers what Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne was to Peyton Manning.
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