Marcus: I wouldn't have made it without high-school showdown


(Photos courtesy of the Oakland Raiders)

Talk of Fame Network

Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen wanted to play safety in high school. But his coach wanted him to play quarterback.

So San Diego Lincoln High coach Vic Player moved Allen to quarterback. But Allen told the Talk of Fame Network last weekend he had other plans. He figured his ticket back to defense would be incompetence at the quarterback position – so he intentionally fumbled on eight consecutive plays in practice.

But Player didn’t move him back to defense. Instead, he kicked him off the team.

“I said to myself, `You’ve got to be crazy. I’m the best player in San Diego -- and you’re kicking me off the team?’” Allen recalled. “But that’s exactly what he did. I went home and talked to my dad and, to my amazement, my father said, `That’s between you two.’”

So a humbled Allen went back to Player to smooth things over on his own.

“I had to go back to apologize," Allen said. "I had to learn how to troubleshoot and how to manage that on my own instead of relying on my father. His advice was the absolute right thing to do. As things worked out, if I didn’t go back and play quarterback, and the run the ball as a quarterback, I probably never would have gotten the opportunity to run the ball at USC.

“When all of our running backs got hurt, Johnny Robinson asked me to come over and play running back. That was a direct result of playing quarterback and running the ball as a quarterback. It all worked out. Fathers know best for sure.”

Allen became the first running back in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season (2,342 in 1981) on his way to the Heisman at Southern Cal, then rushed for 12,243 yards in the NFL. That places him 12th on the all-time rushing list.

Allen also visited with Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge about his troubled times with Al Davis, his proficiency as a short-yardage and goal-line runner, his Super Bowl MVP performance and about inventing the NFL’s back-shoulder pass.

Listen to the Marcus Allen interview now: