The Young Leader In Dwayne Allen Remembers 2014, Looks Ahead To 2015

Intro: One of the Colts young leaders looks ahead to 2015 with a feeling of hope after a run to the AFC Championship.

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INDIANAPOLIS – It's a spot no player wants to be in.

Standing under the bright lights of the media following a 35-point, season-ending loss, answering question after question about a season that was now over, just a game away from reaching the Super Bowl.

Dwayne Allen also knows that it comes with the territory of being an NFL athlete.

It's why Allen, at the age of 24, is the Colts NFL Players Association Rep.

It's why he was the team's recipient of the 2014 Ed Block Courage Award.

It's why Allen fielded question after question last Sunday night about what the offseason would be like falling just a game short of spending this week preparing in Arizona.

"I really felt like we were at a point collectively where we could take the next step," Allen said after the loss.

"I thought we grew up and were coming up here ready to take the next step and a get a big victory. I guess I was wrong."

In the week leading up to the AFC Championship, Allen never shied away from talking about how he felt this time would be different against New England.

Allen was thought to be a key reason why the Colts would have a different outcome versus the Patriots.

He had played just 13 snaps in the Week 11 meeting against New England before leaving with an ankle injury.

In the AFC Championship, Allen was the Colts leading receiver (four catches for 30 yards) but pointed to the lack of offensive balance that restricted the unit from getting things going.

Without a consistent Colts running game, the Patriots could employ their three-cornerback personnel group and have their linebackers drop into coverage to take away the Indy crossing routes.

Allen, who is always a thoughtful thinker with his answers, had a long pause when asked if this loss to the Patriots felt different.

"This time it does," Allen said after some thought.

"I will take the next couple of days to reflect and see why it feels different. It just doesn't feel the same it has. Not worse. It's a feeling of hope. There's some things we need to change and get better at. They are going to be here in our way every year and we are going to have come through them. Whether it's offensively, defensively, special teams, we are going to have to do something different in order to get a different result."

For Allen, it's plenty of motivation for his fourth NFL offseason.

The feeling Allen had on Sunday is one that will linger for the next few months for a player on the verge of a blossoming career.

"I need to do everything necessary so I can stay healthy and have a dominant year for an entire year."

Colts tight end Dwayne Allen has been selected by his teammates as the recipient of the 2014 Ed Block Courage Award.

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