Michael Allen
Date of birth: (1964-08-01) August 1, 1964 (age 56)
Place of birth: Clarendon Parish, Jamaica
Career information
CFL status: Non-import
Position(s): DB/LB
University: Carleton
CJFL: Thunder Bay Giants
CFL Draft: 1988 / Round: 4 / Pick: 29
Drafted by: Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Career highlights and awards

Michael Allen (born August 1, 1964) is a former Canadian football defensive back who played seven seasons in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa Rough Riders and BC Lions. He was drafted by the Blue Bombers in the fourth round of the 1988 CFL Draft. He played CIS football at Carleton University. Allen won three Grey Cup championships, two with the Blue Bombers and one with the Lions.

Allen spent most of his career as a backup safety with brief stints as a starter with the Blue Bombers and Rough Riders. He was best known as a special teams player. He holds the CFL record for most fumble recoveries returned for touchdowns after returning five blocked punts for scores.

Early years and career[edit | edit source]

Allen was born in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica. His family moved to Canada when he was ten years old.[1][2] Allen played junior football for the Thunder Bay Giants of the Canadian Junior Football League and CIS football for the Carleton Ravens.[2][3]

Professional career[edit | edit source]

Allen played seven seasons in the Canadian Football League, playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa Rough Riders, and BC Lions.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers[edit | edit source]

Allen was selected by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the fourth round of the 1988 CFL Draft with the 29th overall pick. He played in 17 regular season games during his rookie season, in which he made no tackles but contributed heavily on special teams.[4] Allen recovered three blocked punts for touchdowns throughout the season, including one that was returned 30 yards to the endzone against the Ottawa Rough Riders.[5][6] The Blue Bombers went on to defeat the BC Lions 22–21 to win the 76th Grey Cup, making Allen a Grey Cup champion in his rookie season.[7]

Before the 1989 season, All-Star safety Bennie Thompson left the Blue Bombers to join the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League, leaving an opening on the roster for a new starting safety. Allen was initially designated to fill this role, but it eventually went to Moustafa Ali.[8][9] He found early success defensively, making two interceptions in his first five weeks. He also tied the CFL career record for fumbles recovered for touchdowns when he recovered his fourth career blocked punt in an August game against the Toronto Argonauts.[10][11] In November of that year, Allen again blocked a punt which was recovered by Paul Clatney for a Blue Bombers touchdown.[12] In addition to his large role on special teams, Allen contributed far more defensively in 1989 than he did in his rookie year, recording 27 tackles in 16 regular season games.[4] The Blue Bombers again qualified for the playoffs, but lost to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 10–14 in the East Final.[13]

In the 1990 CFL Draft, the Blue Bombers drafted safety Dave Bovell in the second round, who took over as a starter with Allen as backup.[9] Allen had a relatively quiet season despite playing in every regular season game, recording four tackles and returning a single punt.[4] The Blue Bombers won the 78th Grey Cup in a 50–11 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos.[7]

In 1991, Allen started in place of Bovell after he suffered torn knee ligaments early in the regular season.[14] As a result, Allen had the most productive season of his career, recording 38 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack over 12 regular season games.[4] In August, Allen broke the CFL career record for fumbles recovered for touchdowns when he recovered his fifth blocked punt for a touchdown.[15][16] Shortly afterward, he missed multiple games due to a sprained ankle.[17] The Blue Bombers lost to the Toronto Argonauts 3–42 in the East Final.[18]

Ottawa Rough Riders[edit | edit source]

After the 1991 season, Allen became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Blue Bombers.[19] Shortly thereafter, he was traded to the Ottawa Rough Riders for Brett MacNeil.[20][21] He played in every regular season game for the Rough Riders in 1992, recording 19 tackles.[4] The majority of Allen's role occurred on special teams, with The Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren describing him as "one of Ottawa's top special teams players".[22] During a practice in September, Allen fought with fellow Rough Rider defensive back Anthony Drawhorn after the two players insulted each other. The fight lasted several minutes and both players were criticized for their roles in it.[23] The Rough Riders made the playoffs but lost to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Semi-Final.[24]

After starting safety Sean Foudy left the Rough Riders as a free agent, Allen competed with Hency Charles and Ken Walcott in training camp for the starting role.[25][26] Allen emerged as the starter in July, but he was sidelined a month later with a knee injury.[27][28] While Allen returned quickly from the injury, he was replaced by Walcott as starter and was moved to the reserve list for a short time.[29][30] He was reactivated after Walcott was injured with turf toe, but Remi Trudel was started at safety in place of Allen.[30][31]

BC Lions[edit | edit source]

Allen had a physical altercation with Walcott outside of a Rough Riders practice in August 1993. Shortly afterward, Ottawa traded Allen to the BC Lions for safety Burtland Cummings.[31] With the Lions, Allen was a backup for Tom Europe.[32] He spent time on the reserve list during parts of the regular season and suffered a shoulder injury.[33][34] Allen played nine games with the Lions in the regular season, contributing eight tackles.[4] The Lions appeared in the West Semi-Final, where they lost to the Calgary Stampeders 9–17.[35]

Allen re-signed with the Lions for the 1994 season.[36] He played in nine games but spent much of the season being moved on and off the injured list with various injuries.[37][38][39][40] The Lions went on to win the 82nd Grey Cup, making Allen a Grey Cup champion for the third time.[41]

Season statistics[edit | edit source]

[4] Defense Punt returns Kick returns Misc
Year Team GP Tkls Sacks FR Int TD PR Yds Avg Long TD KR Yds Avg Long TD Fumbles
1988 WPG 17 0 0 4 0 3 1 3 3.0 3 0 13 241 18.5 37 0 1
1989 WPG 16 27 0 2 2 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
1990 WPG 18 4 0 0 0 0 1 20 20.0 20 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
1991 WPG 12 38 1 2 1 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 44 22.0 24 0 0
1992 OTT 18 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 5 5.0 5 0 0
1993 OTT 5 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
1993 BC 9 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
1994 BC 9 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
Total 104 114 1 10 3 5 2 23 11.5 20 0 16 290 18.1 37 0 1

Retirement and career[edit | edit source]

Allen retired after the 1994 season and founded Victory Promotions. Victory Promotions sold pre-paid phone cards that worked on AT&T Canada's long-distance network. Through a licensing deal with the Canadian Football League Players' Association, the phone cards featured images of well-known CFL players and were sold at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.[42]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Michael Allen". justsportsstats.com. http://www.justsportsstats.com/footballstatsindex.php?player_id=allenmic002&scoresort=7. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ex-B.C. Lion moves from gridiron to tomato field". canada.com. May 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 13, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150513185734/http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=f4c09f3d-7fca-4860-ac63-b927a7fa5c52. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  3. "1994 British Columbia Lions (CFL)". profootballarchives.com. http://www.profootballarchives.com/1994cflbc.html. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  5. "Shutout embarrasses Ottawa". The Globe and Mail. Canadian Press. September 26, 1988.
  6. "Bombers race past Roughies on rookie arm". The Globe and Mail. Canadian Press. October 3, 1988.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  8. Shoalts, David (July 8, 1989). "EASTERN DIVISION Toronto Argonauts". The Globe and Mail.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Shoalts, David (July 13, 1990). "Bomber poise key to success Team picked to finish last in East f discipline can't be improved". The Globe and Mail.
  10. Matsumoto, Rick (August 15, 1989). "Bill Ballard's standing in line to get Lions share of franchise". The Toronto Star: p. H6.
  11. Houston, William (August 11, 1989). "Fenerty gets the job done in a rush Argos top Bombers as running back picks up 152 yards". The Globe and Mail.
  12. Matsumoto, Rick (November 13, 1989). "Obie to get Argo bounce? Bombers add Saltz to wound with an easy 30–7 victory". The Toronto Star: p. D1.
  13. Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  14. "DIGEST". The Ottawa Citizen: p. B10. July 23, 1991.
  15. "Bombers stumble past Riders". The Toronto Star. Canadian Press: p. B4. August 3, 1991.
  16. Glenday, Craig (2010). Guinness World Records 2010. Bantam Books. p. 444. ISBN 9780553593372. https://books.google.com/books?id=hLYzvUvPL3MC&pg=PA444&dq=%22Michael+Allen%22+cfl+blocked+punts&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiX4uOn8LnUAhUGWz4KHeNuDjIQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=%22Michael%20Allen%22%20cfl%20blocked%20punts&f=false. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  17. Rauw, Murray (August 27, 1991). "Game day". Calgary Herald: p. D3.
  18. "THE GAME Argonauts 42, Bombers 3". The Globe and Mail. November 18, 1991.
  19. Campbell, Don (February 15, 1992). "FOOTBALL: Free agents may find they're anything but". The Ottawa Citizen: p. E4.
  20. Scanlan, Wayne (August 25, 1995). "Joseph's run through Riders mirrors team's run through Canadians". The Ottawa Citizen: p. B1.
  21. Campbell, Don (July 6, 1992). "CFL FOOTBALL; No huge surprises in Rough Rider cuts". The Ottawa Citizen: p. D1.
  22. Warren, Ken (November 7, 1992). "CFL FOOTBALL: Browned off, nonetheless; Veteran Rider cornerback carries grudge over Bomber trade into season finale with former club". The Ottawa Citizen: p. G2.
  23. Campbell, Don (September 1, 1992). "Will Alphin return to Riders? It might happen". The Ottawa Citizen: p. B12.
  24. Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  25. Campbell, Don (March 18, 1993). "FOOTBALL: Foudy bolts Riders". The Ottawa Citizen: p. C1.
  26. "Where training camp wars will be waged". The Ottawa Citizen. June 9, 1993.
  27. Campbell, Don (July 3, 1993). "FOOTBALL: Bombers' Crifo a key for Riders; Trade for slotback would let Ottawa add import tackle". The Ottawa Citizen: p. G2.
  28. Campbell, Don (August 5, 1993). "FOOTBALL: Riders' Baker out of sorts". The Ottawa Citizen: p. C1.
  29. "TRANSACTIONS PEOPLE". The Gazette: p. F5. August 19, 1993.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Campbell, Don (August 25, 1993). "CFL FOOTBALL: Plenty at stake for Riders, Argos". The Ottawa Citizen: p. D2.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Kingston, Gary (August 31, 1993). "Foudy feeble so Lions roar for the tough, aged and experienced: B.C. brings in pair of safeties in case rookie DB Europe falls". The Vancouver Sun: p. D8.
  32. Kingston, Gary (September 1, 1993). "After long absence from game, Flagel just wants to see if his time's up". The Vancouver Sun: p. D9.
  33. "PEOPLE TRANSACTIONS". The Gazette: p. D2. September 4, 1993.
  34. "Lions beat up both on and off the field". Hamilton Spectator: p. C8. November 2, 1993.
  35. Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  36. Kingston, Gary (February 16, 1994). "Brigance looking to explore his CFL options". The Vancouver Sun.
  37. Kingston, Gary (July 4, 1994). "B.C. Lions set '94 roster for this week anyway". The Vancouver Sun: p. D3.
  38. "PEOPLE TRANSACTIONS". The Gazette: p. C4. September 30, 1994.
  39. "PEOPLE TRANSACTIONS". The Gazette: p. G6. October 15, 1994.
  40. "PEOPLE TRANSACTIONS". The Gazette: p. H4. November 5, 1994.
  41. Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  42. "AT&T phone cards sport CFL players: Ex-defensive back in town for Cup". Hamilton Spectator: p. D14. November 23, 1996.
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