It’s been a frustrating first season as a Patriot for Dwayne Allen

john tlumacki/globe staff

“I have been hard on myself,” said Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen.

By Globe Staff 

FOXBOROUGH — Dwayne Allen feels your pain.

The tight end is well aware he hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations many had when the Patriots acquired him (and a sixth-round pick) from the Colts in March in exchange for a fourth-rounder.


Allen arrived in town after averaging 31.5 catches, 362 yards, and 3.6 touchdowns per season over his five-year career (not counting 2013, when injuries limited him to one game and one catch) but he has yet to collect any statistics through eight games in New England.

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He also arrived in town feeling his own pain, still recovering from myriad “wear and tear’’ injuries accumulated over several seasons dating to 2013, when he had hip surgery.

“Going back to the spring when I got here, I was not very good,’’ said Allen, who dragged out the words “not very good” for emphasis. “My body was hurting and my game was struggling.

“But my coaches have been patient, my teammates have been patient, and most importantly, I have been patient with myself and I have been hard on myself.”

The 6-foot-3-inch, 265-pounder is as frustrated with his lack of numbers as anyone (“Oh no, that’s long gone,’’ he said, again dragging out the word “long,” when asked if he ever hears from disgruntled fantasy players) but said he’s been channeling that frustration into continually getting better.


“Thankfully, because of the tight end position, there are more ways to contribute other than catching the ball,’’ said Allen, who arrived in town with the reputation as a physical in-line blocker. “Do I want to? Yes. And when I’m called on, I have to do a better job of executing and running the route the way it’s coached. And again, the chemistry [with Tom Brady] has been building all season long.

“But when you come in injured and you’re out there pushing through . . . ’’

Allen then paused and said, “Excuses, excuses. We don’t do excuses here.’’

More frustrating than the lack of stats was the fact that he just couldn’t physically perform the tasks and make the plays he made in college (when he won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end) and his rookie year in Indianapolis (45 catches, 521 yards) because of the injuries.

“Oh, that’s the hardest,” he said. “That’s the hardest thing. Knowing that, look, I used to do this, I know how to do this but [my body’s] not doing what I’m telling [it] to do. That’s basically what I’ve been going through the last couple of years when I was in Indy.

“So having the opportunity to focus on getting healthy, getting my game back, has been a blessing in disguise.


“Has it been frustrating at times? Yes, because I hate to lose more than I love to win. And that’s been my mentality the entire time I’ve played the sport of football.

“Again, we’re winning, we’re getting better as a club, and I’m getting better as a player and that’s all I can ask for.”

First-year Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley said he never sees Allen’s frustration interfere with his preparations.

“He’s growing every day,” said Caley. “He’s a veteran, he comes to work every day, puts his head down and works hard. He loves to compete and he’s working his tail off. He has a good attitude and he’s a pro about it, honestly.’’

Allen, 27, has appreciated the work he’s done with Brady, and although the two haven’t made any in-game connections, they continue to work on getting on the same page.

“Like Tom likes to say, everything builds on top of one another,’’ said Allen. “The spring builds into training camp and training camp builds into preseason, and so on and so forth.

“And honestly, with how I’ve been able to get healthy and strengthen the things I needed to strengthen and concentrate on the things I needed to concentrate on, it has been a building process that started in the spring before I got here.”

One thing that has really surprised him about working with Brady is that the 40-year-old quarterback hasn’t lost much off his fastball.

“Throws a lot harder. Throws a lot harder [than I thought],’’ he said. “I played with another guy that was 40 — my guy Matty Hasselbeck — and Tommy can spin it. He can spin it.’’

Allen said winning trumps any frustration he has experienced this season. In fact, he said, winning trumps everything in his mind.

“The fun is in the winning, as coach [Dabo] Swinney likes to say back at Clemson University,’’ he said.

Jim McBride can be reached at
Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.