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Bethea waited long time for call from HOF
Pro Football Hall of Fame bios
Wednesday, July 30
Updated: July 31, 4:09 PM ET
Allen no stranger to big plays
The play was designed to go off-tackle.
But when tailback Marcus Allen of the Los Angeles Raiders got to the line of scrimmage in the 1984 Super Bowl against Washington, there was nowhere to go.
"A player usually would just lower his head and try to get a yard or two, but Allen stopped and reversed field," said his coach, Tom Flores. "That was amazing. He outran the entire team -- including Darrell Green."
The next year he won the league's MVP after rushing for 1,759 yards.
"I realized that early on all I had to do was be the best-conditioned athlete on the field," said Allen, one of five players to be inducted Sunday into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. "No matter what time it was in the game, overtime, double-overtime, I was ready to go."
The run in the Super Bowl is the kind of play Allen became known for in his 16-year career in which he became the first player with 10,000 yards rushing and 5,000 receiving.
He finished with 12,243 yards rushing and 5,411 yards receiving, ranking seventh all-time in rushing and eighth all-time in combined yardage. His 145 touchdowns is third all-time.
Allen said he always played the game the way the "old-school guys" played.
"We played it for love and survival," said Allen, who also played for the Kansas City Chiefs. "The players today, they have endorsements and other deals. They don't have to play to survive."
Allen's uncanny ability to read a defense earned him the reputation as the best short-yardage running backs.
"He was better than everybody at finding a soft spot," said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who coached Allen at Kansas City. "Even when those plays are designed to go a different direction, he always had a natural instinct for it."
Flores said in practices Allen would run an extra 40 yards down the field whenever he touched the ball.
"Even if the play was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, he would still bounce off and would not let you tackle him," Flores said. "Sometimes it was a pain because we had to wait for him to get back into the huddle."
An ugly contract dispute with Raiders owner Al Davis -- who called Allen "a cancer on the team" -- had him sitting on the Raiders' bench for three seasons and left Allen wondering what kind of numbers he could have put up.
The rift prompted him to leave for Kansas City. He spent four more seasons with the Chiefs before retiring after the 1997 season.
"I think about that occasionally but I try not to give that much life," Allen said. "My record is what it is. It could have been better but a lot of guys could say the same thing."
Allen, a Heisman Trophy winner coming out of Southern Cal, says he might have complained about being benched if the NFL had free agency then. He finally did vent his anger on ABC's Monday Night Football and later in an autobiography.
"There is no question that he didn't like it," Flores said. "He also had a lot of pride and he was a tremendously loyal guy even though it all. The only selfish thing he did was he wanting to play. All the greats want to have the ball.
"He will be remembered as a Raider," he said. "He is like Joe Montana. You don't think of him as a Chief. He is a 49er because that is where his great years were."
Allen says despite the problems he wants to be remembered as a player for the Chiefs and Raiders.
"I am not going to deny any portion of my career for someone else's satisfaction," he said. "Every bit of it is mine. I have scars to show for every one of those sixteen years."
Along with Allen, defensive end Elvin Bethea, guard Joe DeLamielleure, wide receiver James Lofton and coach Hank Stram will also be inducted in the Hall of Fame.