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Keenan Allen confident he'll keep producing at Pro Bowl level


New Bears receiver Keenan Allen flew to Chicago in style Friday night.

"That was my first time on a private jet," the six-time Pro Bowler said Saturday morning during his introductory press conference at Halas Hall.

This week also marks Allen's first time joining a new NFL team after spending his first 11 seasons with the Chargers. The 31-year-old was acquired by the Bears Thursday night in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round draft pick.

Allen told reporters he's "definitely excited" about the trade, primarily due to the weapons on the Bears offense and the chance to reunite with receivers coach Chris Beatty, who held the same position with the Chargers the past three seasons.

"Got great talent," Allen said. "I know DJ [Moore], hell of an athlete out there at receiver, and just picked up a running back (D'Andre Swift). The tight end (Cole Kmet) is really good. We picked up a tight end (Gerald Everett) that I played with last year as well.

"Definitely excited about the new opportunity. This organization has a lot of tradition. I wanted to finish my career there [in Los Angeles], but things happen and you've got to keep on going."

Check out new Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen in action. (Photos via AP)

Since being selected by the Chargers in the third round of the 2013 draft out of California, Allen has played 139 games and caught 904 passes for 10,530 yards and 59 touchdowns.

The 6-2, 211-pounder was voted to five straight Pro Bowls from 2017-21 and was chosen for a sixth time last season when he led the NFL with a career-high and franchise-record 108 receptions for 1,243 yards and seven TDs despite missing the final four games with a heel injury.

Allen has caught at least 100 passes in five of the last seven seasons with 102 in 2017, 104 in 2019, 100 in 2020, 106 in 2021 and 108 in 2023. In addition, he has six 1,000-yard campaigns. Last year he became the fastest player in NFL history to surpass 900 receptions, doing so in his 139th career game.

In joining the Bears, Allen intends to continue to be just as productive, saying: "Nothing changes but the jersey for me. The last name on the back is the same. That's what I'm carrying."

With his route running ability and large catch radius, Allen has been described as a "quarterback friendly" receiver.

"I'm a friendly guy on and off the field," he said with a smile. "On the football field, I know the game. I know the ins and outs. I know the zones. I know how to beat man. I know pretty much how to play the game. I just think I'm friendly for the quarterback because I'll be in the right spots. I know how to communicate with him, and my body language is solid, too."

With Allen's arrival, the Bears are the only NFL team with two receivers who both compiled at least 1,200 yards last season. Allen finished 11th with 1,243 yards, while Moore was sixth with a career-high 1,364 yards.

"Any time you've got two guys that can make plays and beat man coverage, it's going to be tough," Allen said. "That's any time. He's a guy who has made plays in this league for a long time and myself as well. If you put both of us together, it's going to be pretty good."

Allen credits his longevity with "just staying to the process, always working out, always staying in shape" and "loving the game, being able to approach it every year the same way: just try to get better at the little things."

The Chargers made the playoffs three times in Allen's 11 seasons, never advancing past the divisional round. He's motivated to help the Bears reach the postseason and is confident that they'll contend in 2024. 

"Yeah, absolutely," Allen said. "When you start to see the roster shaping up the way it is, I think we're going to have a good shot."

Allen is especially excited about the offense's ceiling.

"We can be really special," he said. "We've got weapons … guys who can beat man [coverage] all over the field. So double-teaming one guy is going to be costly for the defense. I think we can use that as our advantage. Having a running back (Swift) that can come out of the backfield and make plays and beat 1-on-1s, that's kind of big."