Dwayne Allen An Influencer Inside And Outside Colts Locker Room

Intro: In a locker room filled with distinguished veteran voices, a young player, and leader has emerged. What does Dwayne Allen mean to the Colts on, and off, the field?

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INDIANAPOLIS – "Dwayne, you were put in a place of influence."

Those words spoken by Olivia Davis to her youngest son have been taken to heart.

Once a long shot who needed a plea from a high school coach even to go out for the football team, Allen now is a young man wowing those with his play on the field, his leadership off it and his actions out in the community.

"He's a guy who is definitely mature beyond his years and he's also a great player," linebacker D'Qwell Jackson says of tight end Allen.

"Being an older guy, you can hand pick the guys who are going to be the leaders. You can just tell the way they carry themselves, the way they go about their business and profession. Just being around (Allen) more and more is just confirming what type of guy he is."

There's Allen walking around the Colts locker room offering a head nod, fist pound or pat on the back to anyone in sight — teammates, equipment staffer, media member.

It's genuine.

It's real.

It's Allen.

"Dwayne's awesome off the field," Andrew Luck, Allen's quarterback, says with a smile. "He's a great leader in the locker room, a great leader in the community. What he does around Indianapolis is awesome.

"Infectious personality, once you get him talking, it's hard to get him to stop talking. It's great. People like being around him. A fun, fun, fun guy to play with, great teammate."

Veterans have taken notice of Allen's presence and how that resonates across a young Colts locker room.

With the playing days of Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Cory Redding reaching their latter stages, Allen has the look, and respect, of the next Colts leader.

"I really had no idea that he had that in him," Matt Hasselbeck, who joined the Colts in 2013, says of Allen. "I knew he was a good player but he was a quiet guy and a funny guy, made a lot of jokes, but he's really stepped up in that (leadership) area.

"Some guys take opportunities and run with them in terms of with (Allen) missing all of last year, I think he used it as an opportunity to improve as a person, improve as a player. He got out and did a lot of public speaking in the community and things like that. I would say that at the end of his career he will point back and look at that year and say, 'that was a year I really grew.'"

Allen agrees with that statement and that's why when he learned his 2013 season was done after just one game, the then 23-year-old tight end remembered those words from his mother.

"I'm not much use to the team on the field, so let's help alleviate whatever stresses I may have off the field, in the community," Allen says of his mindset after the hip injury.

"That's where I could contribute, so I poured myself into the community and tried to help out in whatever way possible."

He teamed up with former Colt Tarik Glenn with the DREAM Alive program to help inner-city youth.

On Sunday, Verizon Hopeline will collect used phones and accessories either to be refurbished and given to domestic violence survivors, or used to raise funds for Coburn Place, a domestic violence shelter.

Inside the Colts locker room, Allen is the team's Players Association representative, something extremely rare for a player of his age.

"It's a servant role, total servant," Allen says of representing the Colts within the NFLPA. "I wanted an opportunity to serve my teammates and this league in a bigger way than just performing on Sundays. One of those ways is to serve on the union as a player rep.

"I was honored to be voted on by my teammates. It's an honor and a privilege, and I just hope I serve them as well."

Allen assumed the role of 19-year vet Adam Vinatieri, who chose not to run again.

During the past year, Allen picked the brain of Vinatieri to see what all he would be getting into by running for, and eventually earning, the representative position.

"(Allen) came down to the meetings last year in Florida and sat through them, not as a member, but to familiarize with what's going on," Vinatieri says. "I think he just slides into that role really well. He's a good, young player that's going to be around for a long, long time, not only in this locker room but around the league as well.

"You forget that he's only been in the league for three years. He jumped into that role and wanted to be a leader, not only on this team but in the NFL."

Tuesday is usually an off day for players in the NFL, but there's Allen walking into the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center with the sun barely shining.

Bible study with teammates is first up on the agenda, before a lifting session, some film analyzation and then checking out the community board on ways to influence his new home of Indianapolis.

Roommate, and Colts linebacker, Henoc Muamba joins Allen on these early mornings.

Muamba doesn't have to think long when answering why a Colts locker room filled with sophistication has chosen Allen to represent them.

"The first thing about Dwayne is that he's humble," Muamba says. "He's open and he's really outgoing. I don't think there's anyone in this room that he doesn't talk to on a daily basis, not only in the locker room, but in this building.

"He's always happy and cheers you up. That's definitely something that people are attracted to in him. That's definitely one of the characteristics that kind of propel him as a leader in this locker room. Aside from that, he's a great player on the field. That's a given. He has the ability to kind of be able to connect with everyone from different perspectives, no matter where you're from, what you've done or the role you play on the team, he's still able to relate to you."

Colts Tight End - Dwayne Allen

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