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Russell Allen suffered a career-ending stroke on the field

When the Jaguars released Russell Allen last week, it came as a major surprise: Allen was a starting linebacker and only 27 years old, and looked like an important piece of the team the Jaguars are trying to build.

Now we know why Allen is done with the Jaguars, and why he’ll never play football again.

Allen told Robert Klemko of that he suffered a stroke on the field during Jacksonville’s Week 15 game against Buffalo. At the time, Allen sensed something was wrong, but he didn’t think it was a big deal and actually stayed in the game. But neurological examinations have revealed that Allen has a dead spot in his brain and can’t risk playing a violent sport like football.

“It was strange because it was so routine,” Allen said. “We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash—like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn’t lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive.”

Allen sounds at peace with his decision to leave the game, but it’s a frightening story nonetheless. NFL players are so tough that they’ll keep playing through anything. Even a stroke.

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43 Responses to “Russell Allen suffered a career-ending stroke on the field”
  1. skittlesareyum says: Apr 22, 2014 11:15 AM

    That sounds pretty serious.

  2. primenumber19 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:15 AM

    Whoa, didn’t see that coming

  3. bostonbadass says: Apr 22, 2014 11:16 AM

    God bless you. ..
    Very smart choice to leave the game but also a very hard one. .
    Best of luck….

  4. ctiggs says: Apr 22, 2014 11:18 AM

    Sad to hear this.

  5. mwatts1 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:18 AM

    Major shout out to his tough guy. You hate see a young talented career end so quickly. Best of luck!

  6. cursedvikings1998 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:19 AM

    Boy PFT, could you make this day any more depressing? First, the Pat Tillman story, and now this.

    I need a cup of coffee.

  7. fstpstr says: Apr 22, 2014 11:19 AM

    I know Russell personally, and he is quality people. Huge loss for the game, but so glad he’s gonna be around to see his kids grow up.

  8. hakunamangata says: Apr 22, 2014 11:21 AM


    Scary stuff glad he’s able to walk away from the game, literally.

  9. mancave001 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:23 AM


  10. tvjules says: Apr 22, 2014 11:23 AM

    That’s terrifying.

  11. nuxsucks says: Apr 22, 2014 11:24 AM

    Wow, good luck to him, at least they found the spot before he took a serious blow to the head.

  12. wildbillesq says: Apr 22, 2014 11:24 AM

    Guy played through a stroke? That’s toughness. Glad he’ll be ok.

  13. 49erfan44 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:25 AM

    Scary stuff there. Take care of your body dude. Not worth it.

  14. barneyrumble says: Apr 22, 2014 11:28 AM

    Why has it taken this long for this information to come out? It happened in week 15 of last season and it comes to light now? I find that odd.

  15. pooflingingmonkey says: Apr 22, 2014 11:29 AM

    Best wishes to him.

  16. jaxbeachjagfan says: Apr 22, 2014 11:30 AM

    Allen is a good guy and I wish him much health and happiness.

  17. blacknole08 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:30 AM

    I’m the same age as Allen. That’s scary. Hope he is doing ok.

  18. hound32 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:34 AM

    Best wishes from this Browns fan . hope he recovers to enjoy his life ! there are bigger things than football .

  19. shackdelrio says: Apr 22, 2014 11:36 AM

    Scary story. Best of luck to him and his family.

  20. 92nick182govikings says: Apr 22, 2014 11:36 AM

    So many faces come and go now-a-days in the NFL. It really is a gladiator sport and these guys deserve every penny they earn.

  21. hrmlss says: Apr 22, 2014 11:37 AM

    Wow, scary stuff. Smart move to retire.

  22. Patskrieg dot com says: Apr 22, 2014 11:38 AM

    Respect for (somehow) finishing the drive, and best wishes. Extremely scary stuff.

  23. deathonwings410 says: Apr 22, 2014 11:49 AM

    Holy smokes!

  24. bcajun says: Apr 22, 2014 11:56 AM

    Why not try coaching?…like his toughness but not worth a life

  25. joe.attaboy says: Apr 22, 2014 12:00 PM

    Good guy, Jaguar fans are going to miss him on their field. Life and family always come first.

    So the next time you have a hangnail, or you get torqued because some moron stole your parking spot, or you can’t get a signal on your iPhone…remember the guy who played football after having a stroke. Then ask if you’re having a good day.

  26. mrtullymars says: Apr 22, 2014 12:11 PM

    Does a player like this qualify for any type of retirement benefits, since this occurred “in the workplace?”

    Best of luck to Russell Allen. Hopefully this doesn’t become a bigger brain issue for him.

  27. southpaw2k says: Apr 22, 2014 12:13 PM

    Sounds like he’s going to be okay, for now at least. Hopefully his strokes won’t be debilitating long term.

  28. ishotthesharrif says: Apr 22, 2014 12:18 PM

    Maybe I’m the only one here, but does anyone else find this to be extremely shady business by the Jags? The guy gets released due to “failing a physical for undisclosed reasons” after never missing a game as a starting LB for a team trying to re-build their franchise — and now it comes out he’s suffered irreparable brain damage & will never play the game again at 27 years old? Here’s hoping the Jags did right by this guy & gave some sort of an undisclosed financial package to a player that was a rock for the franchise and put his body on the line for almost four consecutive years without missing a beat… I mean the guy had a STROKE and finished a game for your team; in an era of “me-first” players it sounds like this guy did everything he could to make sure he didn’t leave his team high and dry. Best wishes to you, Russell; you sound like you were a heckuva competitor.

    ~A Vikings fan with the utmost respect for you

  29. sixringsofsteel says: Apr 22, 2014 12:19 PM

    now THAT is a guy I want on my team…

    Allen sounds like a guy that understands nobody cares about his problems…just packs his lunch and goes to WORK.

  30. fordmandalay says: Apr 22, 2014 12:23 PM

    Sad situation, but glad that he seems to be okay otherwise. Best of luck, Russell.

  31. nomoreliesfortoday says: Apr 22, 2014 12:26 PM

    Is his contract guaranteed from on-field related injuries like this? The word release indicates to me that its not…..

  32. chalkruz1989 says: Apr 22, 2014 12:49 PM

    Best of luck to Russell Allen and his future endeavors. Scary thought but hopefully he doesn’t experience anything like this for the rest of his life.

  33. ravenmadnky says: Apr 22, 2014 1:11 PM

    And I thought Gary Kubiak was tough. I hope Russell Allen has a long, healthy life.

  34. CKL says: Apr 22, 2014 1:48 PM

    First of all, I am glad that it seems that he got through this without any permanent damage.
    His toughness isn’t in question. But a lot of people keep doing what they were doing while in the midst of strokes because they don’t know they are having one. That part isn’t unusual. That’s why the conventional wisdom is telling people to ask the potential stroke victim to do 3 things (raise both of their arms above their head, say a sentence, and smile I think they are)and the results will tell you if they likely are having/had one.

  35. beedubyatoo says: Apr 22, 2014 2:10 PM

    I had a stroke on the golf course last fall and finished the round. I don’t feel as much heroic or courageous as I do stupid. Like Allen, I realized something was wrong and actually thought it was a TIA. However, it was a full blown stroke.

    The difference is, I was 72 at the time it happened and don’t play a contact sport.

    Many times, not even golf.

  36. afcdomination says: Apr 22, 2014 2:22 PM

    its tough. to me, football is one of the most important parts of my life. it genuinely brings me joy that I just don’t get elsewhere or from other sports.

    but, it is very hard to overlook these sort of things. a dead spot in his brain? a 27 year old LB? yikes! a stroke and he stays on the field, Jamaal Charles was ready to return after a hit to the head and he couldn’t go back in, but you can have a stroke on the field and its all good at the time? whoa there. they may need to start looking into this to make sure its not a more common occurrence

  37. purpleguy says: Apr 22, 2014 3:44 PM

    That’s at least a worker’s compensation claim, and more important, a disability insurance claim. I hope he had supplemental disability insurance.

  38. mackie66 says: Apr 22, 2014 3:55 PM

    You writers, of thats what you call yourselves, make me laugh. You folks have never played the game and you always freak out when players stay in the game injured,,,,its part of the game, but you idiots lead the charge to change the game the way you want it to be played not the way its supposed to be played,,,get real,,,know what you write about.

  39. fdugrad says: Apr 22, 2014 4:01 PM

    Quite a sad story. I wish him well in his future life.

  40. kappy32 says: Apr 22, 2014 4:48 PM

    Wow. I wish the kid the best of luck & I hope he finds a career outside football that he loves as much as playing the game. It really is amazing how tough football players are, especially defenders, that they would be able to play through a stroke.

  41. okeedokeesmokee says: Apr 22, 2014 7:01 PM

    i admit I was very shocked at his release and thought he was a very solid linebacker. He went from back up to starter and played very well in my opinion. He did have a bright future playing for the Jags and in the NFL. Even if it may have been as a back up on another team. Dudes motor was always on Beast Mode and a great locker room guy. Very sad to see guys like him who fight their tails off and play for the love of football the game,
    And like Justin Blackmon and other high priced GREEDY talented players take the game and pay check for granite .
    May God bless Russ and his future with great health. Leagues losing a real football player.

  42. ninjapleazee says: Apr 22, 2014 8:13 PM

    When I heard he was released I was shocked and hoped that he’d come to the Bears. Tragic to hear what happened.

  43. butteredbreadced says: Apr 26, 2014 3:00 PM

    I always thought he was a good contributor for the Jags’ LB corps, and I was glad he stayed with us even when players like Daryl Smith were let go.

    It’s unfortunate just how many injuries this game can cause, and hopefully Allen has a happy life outside of football.

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