For the first time since he left the Eagles after the 2014 season, Nate Allen found himself practicing at the NovaCare Complex Monday afternoon.
Still wearing No. 29. Just a Dolphins' No. 29 these days.
"It was different," he said. "When I got here, it felt like I was still living down the street. So many memories. All of them good.
"It brought back a lot of memories even when I pulled into downtown, just remembering (the city), staying down there near some places you used to eat. It was good. When I look back, it was just was a great experience for me.”
While Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso held big press conferences at a podium for a battery of cameras and microphones (see story), Allen — who spent twice as long with the Eagles as Maxwell and Alonso combined — was 100 yards away quietly talking about his own tenure in Philly.
"Obviously went through ups and downs, but that's kind of the game of football," he said. "But when I look back I can only think of positives.
"Being with Andy (Reid) and Chip (Kelly) and just the memories and the relationships I've built around here, it was a great experience."
Allen was always a divisive player here.
He was drafted with a second-round pick acquired from the Redskins in the Donovan McNabb deal, and he essentially was brought here in 2010 to replace Brian Dawkins, a year after he had signed with the Broncos.
Allen became a steady starter with the Eagles but was never a crowd favorite, mainly because he wasn't Dawk. But from 2010 through 2014, he started 69 games, picked off 10 passes, survived the coaching change from Reid to Kelly, reached the playoffs twice.
During that five-year span, only two Eagles — Trent Cole and Brent Celek — played in more games than Allen.
In the last 25 years, only two safeties have played more games in an Eagles uniform than Allen — Dawk and Michael Zordich.
"It was huge being under Andy," Allen said. "You're not going to find a better coach than him, so the fact that I was able to come into that situation and I had some older guys—- like Asante (Samuel), Ellis Hobbs, Quintin Mikell — to take me under their wing and show me the ropes, it was big."
Allen spent the last two years with the Raiders before signing a one-year, $3.4 million deal with the Dolphins this past spring.
“He’s done exactly what we brought him here to do," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Monday. "His job is to make sure nobody gets over the top and if somebody gets to you, get them down. He seems to be in the right place (at the) right time. He does a great job as far as knowing his assignment. He can help other guys.
"It’s great having a veteran leader in that room, another one, and his special teams value is very high for us."
Allen, Brandon Graham and Clay Harbor are the only members of that 2010 Eagles draft class still in the NFL.
Anybody seen Daniel Te'o-Nesheim lately?
"I’ve got to give the good Lord thanks for keeping me healthy," Allen said after the Eagles-Dolphins joint practice Monday (see observations). "I’ve been blessed to play for … this is going on eight (years) so yes, it’s been a blessing."
The Dolphins have Allen penciled in as a starting safety opposite Rashad Jones in a back-seven that also includes Maxwell and Alonso.
Eight years after the Eagles drafted him out of South Florida, Allen is an example of what persistence, durability and intelligence can do.
Most players in the NFL are closer to Allen than Dawk. They're not stars, they're just smart and talented and able to play well into their 30s.
What's the difference between Nate Allen of 2010 and Nate Allen of 2017?
“I’m just wiser (and) more mentally in-tune to the game," Allen said. "I’ve just seen a lot now and I feel like I’ve been through different situations and just about every situation you probably can be in. So wisdom, probably.”
Celek, Graham, Jason Peters and Jon Dorenbos are the only players left from Allen's rookie year, but there are 18 players on the team that he played with at some point here and several coaches, including Doug Pederson.
"It's just good seeing those guys," he said. "You build relationships with those guys and obviously we're on different teams but you still have those relationships and it's just great to see them again."