He had grown up idolizing
Allen is going to miss that, even though Williams' surprise retirement earlier this offseason could lead to exactly what the running back has been seeking: an opportunity to occupy a key role with the
"It was a bittersweet moment. You never want to see a guy like Ricky go. He was my favorite running back coming up, but him leaving kind of does open up an opportunity for me," Allen said last night after participating in
Most Ravens' fans know very little about Allen, a seventh-round draft pick last year who started his collegiate career at Louisville and ended it at Georgia Tech. The 23-year-old was inactive for the Ravens' final 13 games, and struggled for a good part of the campaign with a hamstring injury. In the five games that he did play, Allen was mostly used on special teams, getting just three total carries for eight yards in the Ravens' blowout of the St. Louis Ramsin Week 3.
Even though he struggled to get on the field, Allen said that the lessons that he did learn about being a professional and being prepared and being an NFL running back were extremely valuable, and set him up well for this coming season.
"I have a year under my belt. I know the system. I know protections, I know the lines, I know the passes. It's just a matter of me going out there and playing," he said. "It's a blessing just to be here, to be in Baltimore, playing with the guys that we play with, having the coaches. I've been working hard this offseason. I'm ready to get back in with the guys and try and get a [championship] next year."
At the owners meetings on Tuesday, Ravens coach
"Anthony Allen goes from third [running back to] potentially No. 1 if something happens," Harbaugh said. "Every backup player is an injury away, a play away from being the guy. We think a lot of him, we think a lot of Damien Berry. We think they're going to have very good seasons, but we've got to look at some insurance, too. We've got to have more than two running backs on our roster, so we'll add some guys."
The free agent running market has been extremely slow to develop. Among the players still available are