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story.lead_photo.caption Marcus Allen

Before heading to Florida to play in a golf tournament, Marcus Allen helped wrap up the Little Rock Touchdown Club's 2017 season banquet at the Embassy Suites as the organization's guest speaker.

Today, he's scheduled to tee off with golf great Nick Faldo and Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz in the Diamond Resorts Invitational, a PGA Tour Champions event at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons in Orlando, Fla.

"I'm looking forward to that," said Allen of golfing with Faldo and Smoltz. "[My golf game], It's usually good," Allen said. "But the cold weather has stymied my play. I'm building up excuses, right?"

When he was on the football field, Allen was rarely stymied.

Allen, 57, won the Heisman Trophy in 1981 with Southern California. He was drafted 10th overall by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1982 and played 11 seasons with the franchise before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. After five seasons in Kansas City, Allen retired before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

"I'm fortunate our careers didn't overlap," former Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris said. "He was a great player."

Allen spoke of selflessness during a 20-minute speech on his career.

"No man is an island," Allen said. "I did not get here by myself."

On Jan. 22, 1984, Allen had a then-record 74-yard run in Super Bowl XVIII against the Washington Redskins. He finished with 191 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries in the Raiders' 38-9 victory over the Redskins and was named the game's MVP.

In the NFL Films Super Bowl highlights of the game, the late John Facenda said of Allen's 74-yard run: "Marcus Allen. Running with the night."

"It's hard to forget because every Super Bowl week, it's highlighted," Allen said. "It reminds you of your place in the game and what you've done.

"They say heroes are born, but legends never die. It all happens in the playoffs. You've got to perform in the playoffs. That's what can happen when you do good things."

Allen had some advice for the college and high school players who were present Thursday.

"I challenge you guys," Allen said. "Get your education. Work on being a great person. A great teammate. Respect your coach and your parents."

Four main awards were given out Thursday at the banquet.

• Sully Award (given to the best broadcast call in college and high school football and named for KATV sportscaster Steve Sullivan: Billy Morgan at Harding University and Mark Oliver at Fountain Lake

• Dan Hampton Award (given to the best college and high school defensive lineman and named for Pro Football Hall of Famer and former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville player Dan Hampton): Ja'Von Rolland-Jones at Arkansas State University and Billy Ferrell at Fordyce

• Willie Roaf Award (given to the best college and high school offensive lineman and named for Pro Football Hall of Famer and Pine Bluff native Willie Roaf): Frank Ragnow at Arkansas and Pulaski Academy's Luke Jones

• Cliff Harris Award (given to the best college football player in NCAA Division II, Division III or NAIA and named for Harris, who played at Ouachita Baptist University and for the Dallas Cowboys): Dubuque (Iowa) defensive back Michael Joseph

"I'll cherish this for the rest of my life," Joseph said. "I never thought I would get nominated for this award in a million years, much less win it.

Sports on 01/12/2018

Print Headline: HOF back challenges banquet attendees

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