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Then over to the ballet barre for some combat kicks. "Ki-up," he bellows, his eyes glaring with intensity. "Ki-up." The word thunders through the studio.
The toughest comes last: the fingertip pushups, back and forth, across the 18-foot mat. At the end of the hour, while his three buddies are flat on their backs, there's Allen playfully rolling around the mat. He does 50 more sit-ups, for good measure.
"I'm more flexible than ever," Allen says afterward. "I'm stronger without lifting weights, recover more quickly in the huddle, and I've learned to relax my muscles when I'm trapped on the field. That has saved my legs many times."
On game days that same kind of concentration and drive manifests itself in other ways. Several times Allen has had to be held back when the Raider defense takes the field. He has begged to play on special teams. And in the only pro game he didn't start—against Washington in 1983 when he had a hip pointer—he put himself in without telling Raider coach Tom Flores.
Allen tells war stories like a little kid, gleefully recounting the crushing blows, the near-misses. At the same time, he is able to laugh at himself. He knows his will to win—and his intense desire to hide his pain—often take him too far.
"Years ago, against the Colts," he says, "I dived over the pile, expecting someone to hit me. But all my weight landed on my head, and my left side was paralyzed. I couldn't move! You're taking a hell of a risk diving over piles, but you just do it.
"The trainers came out, and I was cursing. I said, 'Get away from me. The other guys—the Colts—will know I'm hurt!'
"Last year, when we played the 49ers, I left my football shoes at home. I had to wear a pair I didn't like, and by the third quarter my feet were bleeding. The bottoms were totally raw. The skin was completely off. I was walking around like I was on hot coals."
In a memorable confrontation last season, Allen exhibited his toughness on the Raider practice field by going after one of his own teammates—defensive end Lyle Alzado, who promoted himself as the toughest of the NFL's tough before he retired this summer.
"He came at me in practice with an elbow," Allen says. "So, I put a move on Lyle, juked right by him. When I was walking back to the huddle, Lyle pushed me in the back. I turned around and BOOM! I hit him right in the face, through the facemask.