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Keenan Allen: "I Have Unfinished Business"

Top photos from Keenan Allen's sensational, yet injury shortered, season.

With the Chargers and Keenan Allen agreeing to a four-year contract extension through 2020, here is a look back at what KA13 said earlier this offseason about having unfinished business entering 2016.

The play itself was indicative of Keenan Allen's sensational season.

Unfortunately, it would prove to be his last.

Late in the first half during Week 8's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Philip Rivers launched a perfect pass into tight coverage trusting KA13 would come up with the touchdown. The wide receiver soared between both defenders, rose high and contorted his body to secure the catch as he landed with a thud. 

Allen remembers every last detail of the play.

"It was Cover 2 and Phil threw it up where it had to be. I had one mindset, and that was to go get it. That was all I focused on."

Unfortunately, he knew something was wrong the second he hit the ground.

"I landed awkwardly and they fell on top of me. I felt the pressure immediately.  I couldn't catch my breath, but it was obviously more than that.  I really realized how bad it was when I got off the plane in San Diego. I still couldn't breath and I started throwing up."

Sure enough, Allen suffered a kidney injury that ended one of the greatest first halves by a wide receiver in NFL history.

"It was tough to go out like I did.  I had good things going on.  It could have been an epic season."

Allen's 67 catches through eight games were the third most in NFL history, and are even more remarkable considering he missed three quarters due to various injuries over that span.  He was on pace for a 143 catch season, which would have shattered LaDainian Tomlinson's team record of 100 set in 2003.  KA13 also ranked third in the league in receiving yards at the time of his injury.

Despite going on the Reserve-Injured list on Nov. 3, Allen's teammates voted him the Chargers Offensive Player of the Year.

To his credit, while proud of what he accomplished, Allen acknowledges it was only eight games.  Instead of wondering what might have been, he's determined to show what it will be in 2016.

"It's cool to see I had the third most catches (through Week 8), but there are 16 games in season, not eight. So my goal is to double it and see what happens.  That's in the past. I'm looking forward to this season.  I can't wait for Monday.  I'm excited to get going again. I'm excited to get back with Philip and pick up where we left off. We have unfinished business."

Allen was drafted by the Bolts on his last day as a 20 year old and introduced at a press conference on his 21st birthday.  On the precipice of his fourth season in which he'll be just 24 years old, KA13 is a season vet of which much is expected. 

So how does he deal with those expectations?

Allen stares off while he strokes his long beard, asking for some time to make sure he gives an accurate answer.

"I just want to play my game," he says while nodding his head. "I want to be known as the guy who goes out every Sunday and does exactly what he's supposed to do. I want people to say Keenan Allen does his job and makes his team better."

After establishing himself as a top-flight wide receiver over his first two seasons, Allen took his game to new heights last year from the very first snap.  He started the season with a bang in Week 1 with the greatest single-game performance by a wideout in Chargers history, tying Kellen Winslow's franchise record 15 receptions.  It marked the 11th most catches in a game in NFL history, and was good for a career-high 166 yards.

It took only two weeks for Allen to notch his next double-digit catch game, hauling in 12 passes for 133 yards and a career-high-tying two touchdowns.  A month later, he caught 14 of 15 passes thrown his way for 157 yards in only three quarters of action.  He caught six catches in the first quarter, five in the second and three in the third before suffering a hip injury.

Allen proved to be unguardable when in his zone, yet he humbly credits those big performances to his quarterback.

"We've built up a trust over the years," he said.  "His confidence in me helps me play better.  It makes me not think as much and lets me just play my game. When I get in my groove, I do feel like nobody can stop me.  And that's because I know all I have to do is get to my spot and Philip will get me the ball. I think he's helped me become a more disciplined player."

Allen has had a busy few months leading up to the start of the offseason program, visiting Germany where he took part in a military camp while also sponsoring a youth AU basketball team in San Diego.  Still, his singular focus has been his return to the field.

"Last year was frustrating personally and as a team, and I don't ever want to feel that feeling again. Everybody is working hard on their own, and now we get to come together.  I'm going to work hard to do my part."

This season will be different as it marks his first without Malcom Floyd by his side. 

"That's going to be tough," he said with a sigh. "He was the head alien.  I learned a lot from the old man. He was the leader in the wide receivers room, and we are going to miss him a lot.  But I am going to take more of that role onto my shoulders and keep (his legacy) going."

While Floyd hung up his cleats, another one of his close teammates returns to the fold as the Bolts re-signed Allen's "big brother" Antonio Gates.  The two are inseparable off the field, and provide a potent one-two combination on it.

"That's huge to get him back.  That's big.  He is another big threat on the field, and one of the best tight ends.  He can catch the ball on any down.  He can win on any route and on any coverage."

Meanwhile, the Chargers injected speed into the offense by signing Travis Benjamin to a four-year contract. The big-play wide receiver is one of the game's top vertical threats, and his presence figures to open up things underneath for Allen to do his thing.

"Oh man, he can fly.  That is a major pick up.  He's someone who can take the top off a defense.  Add in Stevie (Johnson), Tyrell (Williams), Dontrelle (Inman) and Javontee (Herndon), we are looking pretty good."

There are numerous reasons why Allen is determined to pick up right where he left off, including a burning desire to prove to himself what he is capable of as well as being there for his teammates.

However, perhaps most of all, KA13 is motivated by the fans.

Allen admits there were some dark moments last season when he first learned the seriousness of his injury, yet the fans were there to pick up his spirits.  They've offered him encouragement in person and through social media, and they've been a driving force as he readies himself for the 2016 campaign.

"The fans have meant a lot to me.  Everywhere I go they tell me how they want to see me back on the field and back healthy.  I'm ready to get back out there. I appreciate their support more than they might know. Hopefully I can come out, keep the excitement up and keep going."

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