• Brian L. Barefield

Light At The End Of The Tunnel- Texans WR Floyd Allen Takes The Long Road Back Home

Back in 2018, I decided that I was going to see what it would be like to live out of my car. For two days in a row (One documented on social media through Facebook Live) I lived as if I had nowhere to go. Let me say that those were the hardest two days I have ever been through in my life and I have lived in the Middle East (Afghanistan) for a year in the mountains.

As I laid with the driver’s seat all the way back, multiple questions ran through my mind.

“What if one day I really end up like this,” I said out loud a couple of times. “How can families do this? What type of psychological toll does this take on children? As a man, would I feel like a failure if I had to take care of my family this way?” Believe me when I tell you that my mind was racing the entire time due to the thoughts of sorrow and pain individuals have to endure due to unfortunate situations.

I can imagine that’s what it must have felt like for Texans rookie wide receiver Floyd Allen who had to endure being homeless three years ago back in California. Sleeping out of his car for a month due to the fact that he didn’t have enough money to put a deposit down on an apartment was tough for the wide receiver who would eventually save enough to put a roof over his head.

“Every night, I used to just think about making it to the next level, having an opportunity to take care of my family. It always kept me motivated. Kept me from, in a sense, going insane,” said Allen.

The road to the NFL was tough for Allen right out the gate. The Houston native who attended Nimitz high school tore his ACL before his senior year, and that slowed down college interest from top Division 1 schools. The lack of attention forced him to spend time at multiple junior colleges before landing at Ole Miss. University and gaining the attention of the Houston Texans coaching staff. Playing in the NFL will be a dream fulfill for Allen and an upgrade from his previous job of working at McDonald’s.

“It’s hot outside and everybody just wants to get their order, and I’m trying my best to make somebody laugh or trying to keep everybody calm so we can get the line moving,” Allen said about his drive through window duties.

There have been other players to come from unfortunate situations to make it onto an NFL roster. Just last year an undrafted rookie named Sean Chandler out of Temple University played significant minutes at the safety position for the New York Giants. He grew up in Camden, New Jersey with his mother and two siblings. After struggling to keep a roof over their heads and going from relative to relative, Chandler and his family eventually ended up sleeping on the street.

"I was just being a kid," he said to SNY-TV. "I had a fun childhood. It wasn't really agonizing, but as I got older and saw the things I came from and how I overcame them, I was like, 'Dang, I really did that.'”

As the Texans embark upon another training camp this Thursday, Allen is very grateful to be where he is today. He continues to keep a smile on his face despite all he has been through just to prove to the Texans organization that they did not make a mistake.

“Sometimes I just catch myself coming into the facility and I am like, ‘Man, this is crazy. I am really in the Texans facility,’” said Allen during his press conference after Texans OTA’s. “It’s all a blessing to me. There are plenty of times where you think it might not happen, but the fact that I was blessed with an opportunity to be here is still crazy.”

“I walk into the locker room and see Deshaun Watson and I say, ‘I use to watch you on tv like two-years ago.’ Seeing players like wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and KeKe Coutee, remembering that I used to play with them on Madden was a 'WOW" moment to me.”

Allen plans to use his platform to help others who may be going through the same situation he had to go through.

“I also want to give back to the community,” said Allen to Brian Barefield from Houston Style Magazine. “Because again, they support us, so why not support them? I feel like, for me, I’ve been through a lot,  so I know there’s people out there that’s going through the same thing. If I can help them in any type of way, then why not use my platform to do it?”

On the first night of my venture of living out of my car I looked up at the stars and prayed to God to one day be successful in life. Floyd Allen must have prayed that same prayer three years ago in his 2003 Honda Accord and God answered his.

Mine is right behind yours Mr. Allen.

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