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Dwayne Allen: Will always hold Colts 'near and dear to my heart'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Lost in the news of the Indianapolis Colts signing two linebackers and releasing cornerback Patrick Robinson on Friday was tight end Dwayne Allen addressing the New England media for the first time since being traded.

The Colts sent Allen and a sixth-round draft pick to the Patriots in exchange for a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft.

“I really feel like my involvement with the Indianapolis organization goes further than what was on the field. It was an amazing time,” Allen told New England media. “I think we had some incredible moments, overcame some just dire obstacles, and had a lot of success during the five years that I was there. I really wish those guys nothing but the best. I’m so thankful to the Irsay family for taking a chance on me. They had already drafted a tight end and decided to take another. I’m so thankful for them to do that. It’s one of those places that I’ll hold near and dear to my heart for the rest of my life.”

Allen, a third-round pick by the Colts in 2012, spent the first five seasons of his career in Indianapolis. His best season was his first, when he had 45 receptions for 521 yards and three touchdown receptions. That was also the only season that he played all 16 games.

Allen’s all-around skills got him a four-year, $29.4 million contract from the Colts last offseason. But he didn’t live up to expectations, recording only 35 receptions for 406 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.

The Colts were able to afford to trade Allen after Jack Doyle had 59 receptions for 584 yards and five touchdowns last season. Doyle signed a three-year contract worth up to $21 million earlier this week.

“When I got word that Jack was re-signing, my initial response was, ‘Congrats, Jack.’ Jack Doyle is easily one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever been around and deserved everything, every penny that he earned,” Allen said. “I believe that there was room for two tight ends, but [general manager] Chris [Ballard] had other plans and I’m sure that it’s within his plan to rebuild the Colts organization. Fortunately, unfortunately, depending on how you look at it or who you ask, I was able to be traded.”