The time was right for Nate Allen to head west, both on and off the football field.
After spending the past five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Fort Myers, Fla., native headed to California this offseason to meet with the Raiders – for the second time in two years.
"Oakland just seemed like the right fit at this point in time in my career." - S Nate Allen
Prior to signing a one-year deal to return to the Eagles in 2014, Allen met with the Raiders, but ultimately decided that the time wasn't right to join the Silver and Black.
Now though, the time is right.
"Last year a lot people were just offering one-year deals, and this year I had a lot more long-term deals," said Allen. "Oakland just seemed like the right fit at this point in time in my career."
During his time at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility prior to signing this offseason, the former South Florida Bull was encouraged by the positive steps the organization had taken to become competitive immediately.
"When I got out here I saw what Coach [Jack] Del Rio was doing, the new staff they had brought in and a lot of the new players they were bringing in," Allen said. "It just seemed like they were looking to change things now. Sometimes organizations go through a couple of years of rebuilding, but it really hit me that things are changing to win now."
Also, it never hurts a recruiting pitch when you can share the defensive secondary with a future Hall of Famer in Charles Woodson.
"His [Woodson] resumé obviously speaks for itself," Allen said. "He was another reason for me coming here, because if you play next to a guy like that and you're learning from him day in and day out, it can't do anything but make you better."
Allen has long admired Woodson's work on the football field, even while he was a member of the Eagles.
"I remember watching him in Philly on tape and stuff and we, even as a defensive backs room in Philly, were like, man, this guy is still playing a high level, and this is year 17 for him."
Allen continued, "Off the field, watching him go through his routine in the mornings and how he takes care of his body – that off the bat, right there to me, is unbelievable. When you think of 18 years and how his body has held up, and he's still playing at the high level that he's playing, he has to be doing something right."
"It really hit me that things are changing to win now." - S Nate Allen
Allen's arrival in Oakland also means he has the chance to work with defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
"He's [Norton, Jr.] definitely what you would think of when you think of a defensive coordinator," Allen said. "He's super energetic, loud, but he's also smart too. He talks to us and gives us these scenarios and these different definitions each day. He does a great job of bringing everybody together."
Additionally, Allen is also looking forward to learning from a coaching staff that has over 100 years of combined playing experience in the NFL.
"It would be awesome to be a part of that group that kind of revived the organization and brought it back to what the Raiders used to be." - S Nate Allen
"They've [the coaching staff] seen what we've seen," Allen said. "It's hard to explain, because sometimes you can get coaches that are telling you to play a certain way and they've never been in that situation. They know where we've been and what we see. It's huge having guys that have played and that have been through it."
Photos of new Raiders safety, Nate Allen.
Allen led the Eagles with four interceptions in 2014, and is looking forward to continuing his ball hawking in Silver and Black.
"I was brought here a lot for that, to be an over-the-top guy, play in the middle of the field a lot and be a ball hawk," Allen said. "Go get the ball and create turnovers."
Since his arrival in the Bay Area, Allen has been enjoying all that California has to offer, especially the temperate weather, but there's one thing he's looking forward to above anything else – helping the Raiders get wins on Sundays.
"It would be awesome to be a part of that group that kind of revived the organization and brought it back to what the Raiders used to be," Allen said. "They used to be feared, and that's what we always talk about in the meeting rooms, that we have to get back to that place, when the Raiders came into town and you almost feared it; it was the Silver and Black. We have to get back to that place."