Former NFL player turning in his football pads for a fire suit

Published: December 2, 2021 8:54 PM EST
Updated: December 3, 2021 8:48 AM EST

He fulfilled his dream of playing in the NFL and now, Nate Allen is working toward a new goal; becoming a firefighter.

North Collier Fire says he did it mostly incognito. They say when he first started the fire academy, he introduced himself and said he had participated in some organized sports in the past.

For Allen, becoming a firefighter means being able to truly make an impact on the community and saving lives instead of entertaining.

“It’s almost kind of like, the athletic world, you know,” said Allen.

The teamwork firefighters have reminded Allen of his former career and home. “I grew up here, born and raised. So it just seems right for me to give back to the community and serve my community this way.”

Allen said he plans to attack each fire and day just like he attacked the football field. “We might not be fighting crazy fires every day, but whether it be responding to medical calls, whether it be helping elderly, whatever the situation may be, yeah, I plan on giving it 100% every day and coming with a full heart of love every day.”

And this job is no match for the former football player.

North Collier’s Deputy Fire Chief Michael Jimenez said, “Nate’s doing great, you can tell that his professional background has gone ahead and leaked into the class that he’s taken.”

Jimenez said Allen is a natural leader. “We gave him a leadership role right when he came in, because he has that experience. He has that team aspect that he brings.”

And he’s a role model for his children. “They have a little fire dog mascot, and they just non-stop talking about the dog. So they probably look forward to this more than they did when I was playing football,” said Allen.

Allen may have found himself a new playing field where every play seriously counts. “I’m working for something even bigger than what I was with football. In this, you’re saving lives. So this is even more important.”

Allen will complete his last day of training on Dec. 16th.

If all goes well, he will take the state exam and other written exams before officially becoming a firefighter.