Allen excited to be part of Festival

Apple Blossom Sports Marshal Marcus Allen waves to fans along Braddock Street during the parade. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER — When Marcus Allen was invited to be the Sports Marshal for the Apple Blossom Festival, he knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

The former Heisman Trophy winner said he likes to experience new things, and to be able to help others.

“I’ve already been introduced to some really nice people. I’m looking forward to speaking this morning,” Allen said before Saturday’s Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast held at the Winchester Moose Lodge. “…Hopefully my words will inspire some people to able to achieve whatever their goals are.

“I’m enjoying myself.”

Allen certainly enjoyed his stellar college and pro football career.

Allen played at the University of Southern California from 1978-81. Allen ran for 4,669 yards and 46 touchdowns at USC.

In 1981, Allen won the Heisman Trophy and rushed for 2,342 yards. He was the first running back to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season.

He was inducted into the college football Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 1982, Allen was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders with the 10th overall pick. Allen played for the Raiders 11 seasons. He finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs (five seasons).

One of the highlights of Allen’s career came at the expense of the Washington Redskins.

Allen led the Raiders to a 38-9 victory over the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984. Allen rushed for 191 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown.

Allen said certain plays from the game still stand out, but what was important was being a part of a team that accomplished its goal.

“What was really nice was that feeling while we were in the locker room after we won,” Allen said.

The Raiders have struggled over the last 15 years, but Allen said he thinks the franchise is turning a corner.

He said that the most important thing is having a staff that stays in place.

“There’s nothing worse than a quarterback having to learn a new philosophy every year,” Allen said. “…You gotta have continuity. You gotta have stability.”

Allen ran for 12,243 yards in his pro career. He also caught 587 passes for 5,411 yards.

Allen said one of the biggest changes for running backs compared to when he played is they don’t have to do every facet of the game.

“I always wanted to be a complete back,” Allen said. “I always wanted to be on the field, whether it was short yardage, goal-line or pass protection. I don’;t know if the emphasis is put on that [now]. I’m sure guys have the ability, but I’m not sure if the emphasis is on it now.”

Allen was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2003.

He retired after the 1997 season, and was an analyst for CBS for six years.

Allen said he enjoys doing events like the Apple Blossom Festival and getting a chance to meet and speak to people in different communities.

The 55-year old said his life has changed in the last two years with the birth of his now 18-month old son, Drake.

“It is a game-changer,” Allen said. “All of the things that I’ve done is nothing compared to having a child. I waited a long time. I used to hear people talk about that. Now I have a clue and understand what they were talking about.

“Right now is the greatest time of my life.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com