Hometown Hero Comes Home
By Korral Taylor
n Tuesday March 6, All-Star athlete Marcus Allen became the first to be honored in the New Year by the Pro Football Hall of Fame sponsored by Allstate, a program dedicated to honor members of the Hall of Fame in their hometowns.
Opening up the afternoon festivities was Marcus Allen’s very own sister Michelle Allen, who sang the National Anthem, accompanied by his former piano teacher, Ms. Pearson, who taught at Lincoln for over 25 years.
Marcus Allen attended Lincoln from 1974 to1978, where he played quarterback and safety.
Pearlie Washington, who was a classmate of Allen’s since the 7 grade said that he was always very calm, a gentleman and a true friend.
“In the 8 grade I told him that he was going to make it in the NFL,” recalled Washington.
Before Marcus gave his speech to the audience, the drill team and drum line pumped up the crowd with a performance.
After graduation, Allen, against the advice of some, attended the University of Southern California (USC). During his years at USC, he rushed over 2,000 yards in one season. In that same year, he was awarded the Heisman Trophy and named the Pac 10 Player of the Year.
Introducing Allen was his mother, and her speech stressed how focused Marcus was as a teenager.
“He never gave into drama,” she said. “He was always very calm.”
Allen noted that its always great coming back to Lincoln and that the school is far different from when he was a student.
“It’s not the walls that make this place,” he said. “It’s the people that make this school incredible.”
In his speech Allen stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with forward-thinking people.
“I’ve been to Russia, Switzerland. I’ve been to Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, and China. It happened because I dreamed about things and things that I dreamed about I worked hard to achieve,” he said. “It’s all out there its all possible whatever you want to do in life, you can accomplish.”
“What he said was really true, it kind of spoke to me. I am going to try to put what he said in my own life,” said senior Jerry Cobb, a member of the Boy's Varsity Basketball Team.
After college, Allen was the first round draft pick in 1982, signing with the Oakland Raiders. In his first season Marcus was voted NFL Offensive Player of the year.
In his final years in the NFL he played with the Kansas City Chiefs where he rushed for 764 yards that year, leading the AFC with 12 touchdowns. He and Quarterback Joe Montana later led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game. As a result, Allen was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Allen went on to play for the Chiefs for four more seasons, leading the team in rushing every year but his last.
When asked on what advice he would give to up and coming athletes, after a notable pause, he said, “ You have to go to school. Without education, you can’t go anywhere.”
In his final thoughts, Allen stressed that we need to focus on obtaining our dreams, letting go of feeble distractions, and not letting your struggles bring you down.
“I’m happy there were hurdles, I am happy there were struggles because they gave me the opportunity to be better,” he said. “It made me who I was, it gave me the strength gave me the courage. I didn’t learn anything myself, I learned everything right here.”
Before parting he said that through it all, he was glad to be a Hornet.
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