Nate Allen's 'heart was in Philly'

Nate Allen became a free agent on March 11 and he had to wonder where his NFL career would continue.

Allen hoped it would be with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he couldn't be sure.

All it took was six days for Allen to make his decision and the safety ultimately signed a one-year deal to remain with the Eagles.

For the first time in his career, Allen started all 16 games. In 2014, he'll have a chance to start opposite Malcolm Jenkins, one of the team's marquee free-agent signings in the offseason.

“I was just playing the waiting game,” Allen told CSNPhilly.com. “I wasn't trying to get all worked up and stressed out about free agency. I just kind of sat back and let everything fall into place. At the end of day, I knew my heart was in Philly and this was the place I wanted to be.”

Allen, who was third on the team with a career-high 82 tackles, gives the Eagles some much-needed depth at safety. He also registered one interception and one sack.

Despite compiling six interceptions and 310 tackles in 59 career regular-season games, there was some uncertainty about if Allen would return to the Eagles. But his total number of tackles have increased in all four seasons.

With Jenkins, Earl Wolff and Chris Maragos, Allen will have a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job during training camp.

Allen was a second-round draft choice in 2010 and became the first player in franchise history to record three interceptions and two sacks in his first season. He suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee and had surgery late in the season.

Allen has responded ever since and it ultimately wound up with him signing for a fifth season in Philadelphia. In Allen's second season, he registered 59 tackles and two interceptions, proving that he was fully recovered from his knee surgery.

The improvement has been evident through all four seasons and time will tell what Allen's role will be in 2014.