If anyone defines what it means to be a comeback player, it’s Keenan Allen.
Think about it for a second.
KA13 missed the final eight games of the 2015 campaign and played two quarters in 2016 before missing the remaining 15 games.
Then he returns and authors the single greatest season for a wide receiver in Chargers history.
Thus, it was a foregone conclusion that Allen would be named the 2017 Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year. That doesn’t make it any less special.
The 25-year old Allen played all 16 games for the first time in his five-year career, breaking LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-season record for receptions in a season with 102. Meanwhile, his 1,393 receiving yards were the second-most in a season in team history.
Allen also ranked among the league leaders in several categories, ranking first in total first downs (74), third down receptions (36), first in third down receiving yards (552), third in receiving yards (1,393) and fourth in receptions (102). He had seven 100-yard receiving games, including four straight at one point, and finished the year with six touchdowns.
KA13 also became the first player in NFL history to post three consecutive games with 10-plus receptions, 100-plus receiving yards and a touchdown catch when he accomplished the feat in Weeks 11-13.
It’s clear that Allen gave opposing cornerbacks fits all year long, including several Pro Bowlers around the league.
Simply put, it was a nightmare having to go up against the 6-2, 211-pound wideout.
“He’s doing a lot of things small receivers can do, but he’s doing it with the size he has,” said Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey. “That makes him unique already right there. He’s an elite receiver. The way he has a wide radius to catch the ball; his footwork off the line (and) his route-running is very good. He’s a competitor, too. At the end of the day, that always makes it better when you’re going up against another dog who wants to win every play.”
Defensive backs weren’t the only Pro Bowlers in awe of Allen’s talents.
“He’s so versatile,” said Ravens LB C.J. Mosley. “A receiver with that type of speed and that type of length, he can go get the ball any kind of way. He’s willing to do anything to help the team win.”
“He’s one of the best receivers, not only in the AFC West, but in the entire National Football League,” added Broncos edge rusher Von Miller. “It’s good to see him get success.”
It’s also worth noting that Allen made an impact on defense late in the season for the Bolts when he picked off Bryce Petty’s Hail Mary in Week 16 vs. the Jets. In doing so, he became the first player in NFL history to post 90-plus catches and an interception in the same season, and the third player in league annals to register 1,000-plus receiving yards and an interception in the same year, joining Hall of Famer Don Hutson (1942) and Randy Moss (2009).
As a result, it’s no surprise that Allen became only the third player in Chargers history to be named the league’s Comeback Player, joining Drew Brees (2004) and Philip Rivers (2013).
Best of Keenan Allen
Relive the top moments of Keenan Allen's record-setting season.