Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who rebounded from an ACL injury that sidelined him during the 2016 season opener to finish third in the league in receiving yards in 2017, was selected as the 2017 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
A season-ending kidney injury while making a touchdown catch at Baltimore derailed Allen’s 2015 season. He also suffered a season-ending knee injury after making a catch in the 2016 season opener at Kansas City on September 11. Allen bounced back to full health for the 2017 season and played in all 16 games with 15 starts.
Allen had a record-breaking season for the Chargers in 2017. The 2013 third-round selection broke the Chargers single-season receptions record, finishing fourth in the NFL with 102 catches. His 1,393 receiving yards was the second-most in a season in team history.
He had seven 100-yard receiving games, including four straight at one point and finished the year with six touchdowns. Allen became the first player in NFL history to post three consecutive games with 10-plus receptions, 100-plus receiving yards and a touchdown catch when he accomplished the feat in Weeks 11-13.
The North Carolina native became the first player in NFL history to post 90-plus catches and an interception in the same season and the third player in league annals to register 1,000-plus receiving yards and an interception in the same season, joining Hall of Famer Don Hutson (1942) and Randy Moss (2009). He led the NFL in third-down receptions (36), third-down receiving yards (552) as well as first downs by a wide receiver (74).
Allen is the second member of the Chargers to receive PFWA Comeback Player of the Year honors, joining quarterback Philip Rivers (2013). Rivers (2013) and Drew Brees (2004) garnered Comeback Player of the Year recognition from The Associated Press.
PFWA COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1992 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1993 – RB Marcus Allen, Kansas City Chiefs; 1994 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1995 – QB Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts; 1996 – RB Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1997 – WR Robert Brooks, Green Bay Packers; 1998 – QB Doug Flutie, Buffalo Bills; 1999 – DT Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers; 2000 – DE Joe Johnson, New Orleans Saints; 2001 – RB Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers; 2002 – QB Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – RB Willis McGahee, Buffalo Bills; 2005 – WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers; 2006 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2007 – WR Randy Moss, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins; 2009 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2010 – QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles; 2011 – QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers; 2014 – TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots; 2015 – S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs; 2016 – WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers; 2017 – WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers.