Where is Jimmy Allen?
The Pierce College Athletic Hall of Fame wants to honor him. The organizers have a seat for him at the induction ceremony set for Monday at Woodland Hills Country Club.
But two-time JC All-American, who went on to star at UCLA, then contribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first two Super Bowl championships in the mid-1970s, will likely be a no-show.
Because no one can find him.
“It’s too bad, really, because he deserves to be in this,” said Pierce athletic director Bob Lofrano. “He’d be perfect for it. It’d be nice, but . . . but . . .”
For those who remember seeing Allen play – like Lofrano, a baseball player at Pierce just before he arrived – there are warm feelings.
At 6-foot-2 and with a long, effective reach, Allen played tight end at Pierce, with quarterback Mark Harmon was throwing him passes in 1970 and ’71.
The two went together to Westwood. Allen switched to defensive back, became a team captain, and earned the nickname “Spiderman.” He had an interception return for 101 yards, a school record.
In one of the Steelers’ most productive drafts, Allen was taken in the fourth round, No. 100 overall — after Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert and John Stallworth, and before Mike Webster. Allen came into his own as a nickel back.
When his career ended in Detroit at age 29 after eight NFL seasons — 110 games, 31 interceptions, six fumble recoveries — Allen came back home to L.A. He got married and started a Laundromat.
But the business went under. Allen sold the family home. He battled drugs. He separated from his wife.
He became a transient.
Some three decades later, Pierce wants him back.
Lofrano said no one at UCLA had his contact info. The Steelers checked with the NFL Players Association and came upon a phone number and address in Victorville, where apparently the soon-to-be 60 year old Allen has pension checks sent.
Lofrano put in a couple dozen calls, just hoping someone would pick up. He kept leaving messages.
“Mark Harmon told me, ‘This fits him to a tee. I don’t think he wants to be found’,” said Lofrano, who also mailed Allen a program for the event.
“A lot of people tell me to just move on. Mark said there had to be some people who’d be far more appreciative of this honor. He told me to drop it.
“I don’t look at it that way. I want our athletes to know there was someone from the L.A. City School District (Allen was a Los Angeles High grad, who was an All-City swimmer and Olympic hopeful) who came to Pierce, made it to a major college and played in the NFL.
“That’s why I want to go ahead and honor him.”
The plan is for former Pierce teammate Jim Fenwick to accept the certificate in Allen’s place.
Who knows if Allen even has any of his Super Bowl rings. If he has someone to take care of him.
Or if he even cares.
Allen may be only remembered now as another cautionary tale.
“But what a great story if he somehow returned,” said Lofrano. “Wouldn’t that be something?”
Like a 101-yard return.
== More on Allen’s NFL career at Pro-Football-Reference.com.