Three months after undergoing surgery on his right ankle to repair a pickup basketball injury, Cal preseason All-America wideout Keenan Allen is moving well and excited about a season now just two months away.
I visited with Allen this morning at the Bears’ football offices, and he said his recovery is ahead of schedule.
“My ankle is doing very good. It feels completely normal — it doesn’t have any pain,” he said.
Doctors told him three or four weeks ago he could beginning running straight ahead, without making changes of direction.
“A week and a half ago, I started cutting. That was feeling real good so they said I could start running a little bit of routes,” Allen said.
Cal’s players report to training camp Aug. 3 in preparation for their Sept. 1 opener at renovated Memorial Stadium against Nevada.
“Right now I think I’m back full speed,” he said.
Allen’s only restriction: Basketball.
“I would say (it’s) on hold, not over,” he said of his hoops career. “It’s definitely not going to make me any money.”
Allen likely will be preparing for the NFL by this time next season — he said he only would reeturn for his senior campaign if he’s not going to be a first-round draft pick.
In the meantime, he continues to earn exactly what every other Division I football player does — a full scholarship and not a dime more.
Given the news this week that college football is headed to a four-team playoff following the 2014 season — bringing more money still to the sport — I asked Allen whether it’s time players get a slice of the pie.
“I definitely would like to see college football players get paid,” he said. “I think it would bring another encouragement, motivation to the players. It’s definitely — I wouldn’t say a struggle — but it’s definitely hard. Just going from high school, being with your parents for 18 years, then you come here by yourself and it’s hard to maintain (the standard of living).
“Being paid would definitely be great.”
And perhaps only fair, given that every other participant in college football cashes in on some level.
“On behalf of the guys who have jerseys out there that are being worn, that could be another reason to get paid, too,” Allen suggested.
When I asked if being paid is ever discussed among players, Allen said, “We always talk about it.”
So I asked him how much would be fair or appropriate, and Allen gave it a bit of thought, trying to figure how many games BCS playoff teams could wind up playing (as many as 15, possibly), and came up with a number.
“I would definitely say about $10,000, something like that.” he said. “”Why not? I don’t see what would be wrong with it. I think it is fair.”