He's only in town briefly, then plans to return to the Carolinas to resume his offseason training, but before that, Dwayne Allen became the first new voice on the Patriots roster to describe what it was like to learn that he'd joined the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Allen, for whom New England traded with Indianapolis this week, gave 10 minutes of his time in Foxborough to field questions from reporters on a midday conference call Friday.
"I was actually at one of [alma mater] Clemson University's football practices. They're in spring ball right now. I was down there training and got the call," the veteran tight end revealed. "Initially, a bit shocked. I knew something was going to happen, but did not know that I was going to be traded to the New England Patriots, but after the initial shock wore off, then came some excitement and definitely a lot of joy."
A 2012 Colts draft choice, Allen enjoyed his most productive pro season as a rookie, when he started all 16 games and caught 45 passes for 521 yards and three touchdowns for Indy. He missed nearly the entirety of 2013 due to injury, but started most every game for the Colts in the past three seasons. His role in their offense, though, had been noticeably reduced, particularly with the recent emergence of Jack Doyle, whom the Colts just rewarded with a big new contract.
Allen acknowledged that he thought the Colts had room to keep him, which accounted for his surprise at being dealt to New England, but said he wished his former organization "nothing but the best."
With New England, Allen is sure to play second-fiddle to tight end Rob Gronkowski, although he admitted he's only had general conversations thus far with head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels about his potential role in New England's offense.
"I'm not sure what my role is going to be, but I'm excited just to get to work and learn from everyone around me," Allen continued. "One thing I've caught onto early is Coach Belichick's saying of 'the more you can do.' I'm just about winning. I want to win. The more skills I can provide an offense, hopefully, the more mismatches that can be created for myself and other players. I'm excited to be utilized as a football player again and not be confined to any box, but just to be a football player.
"[I'm] extremely excited about joining the ranks with Rob. He, of course, is THE best tight end in the National Football League. There's a lot I can learn from him. Watching Tom [Brady] from afar has been unbelievable. I've always regarded him as one of, if not the best quarterback in the league. To have the opportunity to work with him and learn from him is an honor. Most guys dream about opportunities like this to work with a G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time]. I look forward to hitting the field and working hard."