David Amerson And Keenan Allen Set To Reignite Childhood Rivalry

Posted Oct 21, 2015

After growing up together in Greensboro, N.C., David Amerson and Keenan Allen are set to meet again this Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.

You name a video game, and David Amerson and Keenan Allen have probably picked up the sticks and played each other.

“NBA 2K, Call of Duty, Madden, whatever. We just always wanted to compete and play,” said Amerson.

After wrapping up their collegiate careers, at North Carolina State and the University of California - Berkeley respectively, Amerson and Allen, along with Allen’s half-brother, and former Golden Bear quarterback, Zach Maynard moved to Florida to train in advance of the NFL Scouting Combine and eventually the NFL Draft.

“We stayed together from when we came out in December all the way until he went to the Chargers and I went to the Redskins,” Amerson said. “To be honest, all we did was pretty much was train and play video games. We were highly competitive.”

And that competitive streak between the pair goes back much further than the time they spent together in Florida.

After his birth in Hawaii, Amerson moved to Greensboro, N.C., as a toddler, and grew up in the Tar Heel State, becoming one of the premier athletes in the area.

It was there he met Keenan Allen, and where a friendship blossomed on the pickup basketball courts of Greensboro.

“Growing up, at an early age, I was really into basketball much more than football, and Keenan was always the football guy, and basketball was secondary,” Amerson recounted. “But when I really got involved in football and became one of the top free safeties in the area, he was playing free safety too. He was playing free safety and going both ways.”

Amerson laughed, “Then the talking came, ‘oh, I’m better than you,’ and that gets going on.”

After countless battles on the basketball court, the duo got their first chance to square off on the gridiron during Amerson’s senior year, where his Greensboro Dudley Panthers bested Allen and the Northern Guildford Nighthawks.

“We played each other my senior year in high school and it was pretty intense,” Amerson said.  “I got hurt the game before so I wasn’t at my full health, but it was still pretty intense.”

While the pair didn't play each other during their college careers, Amerson remembers that he and Allen always knew their paths would cross again, most likely on Sundays.

“We always knew it would get to a point where we were going to play against each other [in the NFL],” Amerson said. “I know what kind of player he is, and vice versa. We were ready for it.”

Their premonition came to fruition during Amerson’s rookie campaign when the Washington Redskins hosted Allen and the San Diego Chargers, in what would turn out to be yet another spirited contest between the pair.

“I had a pick that game, on him,” Amerson recalled. “It was a dig route. I followed him that whole game. He came back later on the next quarter and hit me with a double move in the red zone for a touchdown, so we went back and forth at it. We already knew it was going to be a tough one – one that we both took personal. We wanted to make plays against each other.”

In the end, the Redskins came out victorious, and for the second time in his career, David Amerson’s team defeated Allen’s.

Now, Amerson is wearing the Silver and Black, but is still hopeful that he can keep up his undefeated streak going against Allen.

Admittedly though, he knows it won’t be an easy task.

“He’s very quick,” Amerson said when describing Allen. “He’s big. He has great ball skills, so with the quickness it allows him to get separation. He’s good after the catch. You have to go out there and compete.”

He added, “You have to that killer mentality when you step between the lines, especially against a guy like that. You can’t have your guard down as a [defensive back].”

Through 6 games, Allen already has 53 catches, and his 601 receiving yards ranks third in the NFL.