Marcus LeMarr Allen is easily one of the top 10 most versatile athletes to ever lace it up for the NFL. Born in San Diego in March of 1960, he played at Abraham Lincoln High School where he played both the quarterback and safety positions. Then upon graduation he attended USC, where he played running back from 1978 to 1981.
Even though USC recruited him to play in the defensive backfield, head coach John Robinson switched him to running back, where he spent his freshman year learning from Heisman trophy winner Charles White. In 1980 he finally got the starting nod, and rushed for 1,563 yards, the third most in the nation, behind George Rogers and freshman Herschel Walker. In 1981 he had one of the best seasons ever for a college running back. He gained 2,342 yards on the ground, becoming the first player ever to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a NCAA season, and finished with 2,683 total yards from scrimmage. Allen finished with 12 games of 200 yards or more, and led the nation in scoring, won Pac-10 player of the year, the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards.
Upon finishing his collegiate career Marcus Allen had 4,682 yards rushing, 5,232 total yards from scrimmage, 46 touchdowns and a 5.2 rushing average.
In 1982, Allen became a Los Angeles Raider, when he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, and the second running back selected, right behind Gerald Riggs. Allen won rookie of the year, in a strike shortened one, as he amassed 697 yards, and was a key reason Oakland went 8-1 on the year, but lost to the Jets in the divisional match-up.
In 1984, Allen found himself on the biggest stage, the Super Bowl, and it was a definite highlight show for Marcus. He rushed for 191 yards and scored two touchdowns in a romp against the Redskins. His biggest run, came on a 74 yard touchdown, where he had to reverse his running direction, and with a key block by Cliff Branch, he scored. Both were Super Bowl rushing records that were broken by Willie Parker (75 yard run) and Timmie Smith (204 total rushing yards). Allen's rushing yards in the Super Bowl was only the cap to a great playoff series, where he had 121 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns in the Divisional match-up against the Steelers, and 154 yards on 25 carries with a receiving touchdown in the AFC Championship game against the Seahawks. By the end, his 38 carries for 466 yards and four touchdowns, with 14 receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown, will always stand as a career achievement mark for any player. Unfortunately, things would only get ugly as his Raider tenure came to a bitter end in 1992.
Marcus Allen was basically regulated to the bench by owner Al Davis. Allen's carries went from averaging 235 carries in his eight prime years there, to averaging only 66 in his years that he rusted on the sidelines. To fill the void in Allen's carries, Al Davis brought in Steve Smith from Seattle, and a depleted Roger Craig and Eric Dickerson, both lasted only one year in the Silver and Black, and both retired in just a few years after playing for the Raiders, Dickerson having a meaningless year in Atlanta before retiring. In 1993, Allen was eventually let go and the Kansas City Chiefs were happy to pick him up.
Marcus' first year in a Chiefs uniform, was a solid one. He didn't have the yards he would have liked as he had only 764 yards on 206 carries, but with 12 touchdowns he earned AFC Comeback of the Year honors. He was also fortunate to line up behind Joe Montana as Kansas City went to the AFC Championship that year, where they got blown out 30-13 by the Buffalo Bills. In 1995 the Chiefs would lose to Miami in the Wild-Card match-up, in 1996 Kansas City did not qualify, and in Marcus Allen's last season of 1997, the Chiefs got bounced in the Divisional against the Denver Broncos.
Marcus Allen finished his career with 12,243 yards rushing and 74 touchdowns, in combination with 587 receptions for 5,411 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also went 12 for 27 and 285 yards with six touchdowns when asked to play quarterback. He was also the first player to finish his career breaking the 10,000 rushing barrier while achieving over 5,000 yards receiving. In 2003, he was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame.