Dwayne Allen: I'm one of the best tight ends

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen uses his thick, broad shoulders for more than blocking. He said that's where the chip sits. It's the chip of being passed over by so many teams coming out of Clemson in 2012.

The anger is still there more than year and more than 521 yards later.

Allen, who started all 16 games as a rookie, doesn’t believe he’s getting the respect he deserves for his all-around ability at tight end.

“People are saying 'Dwayne Allen is looking forward to a breakout year,'” he said. “There’s nothing breakout about it. I’m the same player I was last year and the year before. Of course I’ve grown and gotten better, but I’m one the best tight ends in this league. That’s the reason the chip is on my shoulder.”

There’s a list of superior tight ends in the league.

Dallas’ Jason Witten, Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham and New England’s Rob Gronkowski.

The list goes on.

Allen believes he deserves to be mentioned in that group.

He’s confident in himself because he knows he’s got the all-around skills to play the position. He doesn’t have to leave the field on passing downs or short-yardage plays. He stays on the field for either situation. Allen played 858 snaps, which was first most among tight ends in the league, last season.

Allen slid to the third round of the 2012 draft because he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds, which turned teams off. There was only one other tight end selected in front of him – teammate Coby Fleener – in the draft, but Allen believes teams that needed help at tight end could have selected him sooner.

“I play faster than the 4.9 I ran,” Allen said. “That was one of the things I talked about throughout the whole draft process. Let my film speak for itself.”

Fleener was taken 29 spots ahead of Allen last year, but Allen was the one who had the better season.

But it’s not about which tight end is better because the Colts plan to showcase both of them in the offense and at some point they could be the best tight end duo in the league.

“To be honest with you, coming out as hyped up -- which was definitely well deserved == as Andrew (Luck) was at the quarterback position, I was at the tight end position and people just didn’t realize it," Allen said. "I go out and have a good year and it’s a surprise to all of them, but it’s expected by me. As long as everything goes well this season, I’m looking forward to having a great season."

Allen has yet to transfer his anger onto the field because he missed the entire preseason with a foot injury. He’ll make his debut against Oakland on Sunday.

“Whether it’s Dwayne being down with something or me being down with something, we’ve kind of missed each other a little bit in the preseason,” Fleener said. “It’s always nice to have him out there because he’s a constant threat.”

Don’t expect Allen’s catching ability to be a primary focus. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said Allen’s responsibility is to play without the ball first and “if the opportunity presents itself, make a play in the passing game.”

“He’ll play a big role without a doubt,” Hamilton said. “We got to be able to run the ball and Dwayne is a major component to that process of being able to hold the point of attack.”