Former Hinsdale Central star taking his shot at NFL Scouting Combine

Updated 2/26/2016 5:42 PM
  • Michigan State offensive lineman Jack Allen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Indianapolis.

    Michigan State offensive lineman Jack Allen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Indianapolis. Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Michigan State center Jack Allen's local connections go beyond his prep days at Hinsdale Central.

His great-uncle, Bob Konovsky, played for the Chicago Cardinals from 1956-58, was with the Bears in 1960 and played for the Denver Broncos in 1961. Before his pro football career, Konovsky was a three-time Big Ten heavyweight wrestling champ, and after his football days were over, he wrestled professionally as "Killer Konovsky."

At Hinsdale Central, Allen was a state champion wrestler at 285 pounds, and the ability to grapple in the trenches and use leverage to his advantage are qualities prized by NFL offensive line coaches.

The 6-foot-1, 294-pounder is one of the smaller offensive linemen at the Scouting Combine, but he was a four-year starter for the Spartans. Allen is expected to be a mid-round draft pick but has the experience, technique and toughness to become an NFL starter sooner rather than later.

Allen also brings a sense of humor, and he's got his sights set on the $1 million that Adidas has offered to anyone at this year's "Underwear Olympics" who breaks Chris Johnson's 4.24 Combine record in the 40-yard dash -- wearing Adidas shoes, of course.

"What's your 40-time?" Allen was asked.

"Not fast," he replied. "But I'm going for the million bucks. We'll see if I get it. I'm a second away."

Allen was almost right on. He ran a 5.29 on Friday.

He was also asked what qualities he possesses that set him apart from the other offensive linemen working out at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"I'm not as tall as any of them," he cracked. "But I think I'm a pretty tough football player. I'm physical on the field. I work pretty hard. I try to pride myself on being one of the hardest working guys in the room. Just toughness, really."

Allen did 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, not an overly impressive number, but he knows his game tape means much more to NFL scouts and coaches than his Combine numbers.

"Ninety percent of what you have to offer is what they view on film," Allen said. "This is the 10 percent, where they see you in person and see how you move. I don't care if you're short -- if you can play, you can play."

Allen can play.

"The biggest thing is, technique wins regardless of size," he said. "If you have the right technique and you're doing the right things, it's going to work out for you."

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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