As long as the Philadelphia Eagles wanted him back, safety Nate Allen had no intention of signing with another NFL team during free agency.
Allen entertained a few other offers but wasn't bowled over by any of them. He returned to the Eagles on Monday by signing a one-year contract.
"I talked to a couple of teams," Allen said Monday in a conference call. "But my heart is in Philly. This is where I wanted to be and I'm happy we were able to get it done."
Allen, 26, is coming off his best season. A second-round draft pick in 2010, he started every game for the first time in his career and blossomed under new defensive coordinator Billy Davis.
He ranked third on the team with a career-best 94 tackles according to team statistics and also registered a sack, interception and forced fumble. More significantly, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder provided consistency at safety while rookie Earl Wolff, Patrick Chung and Kurt Coleman struggled with injuries and inconsistency.
Chung was released last week. Coleman, who is an unrestricted free agent, is not expected to return.
"You saw the comfort level in his play improve," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said Monday in a statement. "Now he knows what is expected from Coach (Chip) Kelly, Coach Davis and the rest of the coaching staff. Nate has played under four defensive coordinators in his career, so we believe the stability will help him grow as a player."
Allen has started 54 games in his career but is not guaranteed a starting job this season.
The Eagles signed former New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins to a three-year, $16.5 million deal last week. Allen will compete with Jenkins, Wolff, second-year player Keelan Johnson and free-agent pickup Chris Maragos for playing time in training camp.
"At this level, you always come into a season with the attitude that you want to start," Allen said. "But you're always competing for a position. I know that and I'm excited about it.
"I think the new additions are great. Malcolm Jenkins is a great athlete, and I'm excited to work with him. Earl (Wolff) is a heck of a safety. It's unfortunate he had a knee injury (late in the season). He's improving, and he's a great guy. I'm ready to hit the ground running, play ball and have a good year this year."
Allen became the fourth member of the Eagles' free-agent class to re-sign with the team, following wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, and punter Donnie Jones. That leaves safety Colt Anderson, Coleman and quarterback Michael Vick as unrestricted free agents.
Vick has said that he wants to go to another team in hopes of winning a starting job, but no one has yet to make such an offer. If no one does, there is a chance he could return to the Eagles on another one-year deal as a backup to starter Nick Foles.
Since free agency began March 11, the Eagles signed linebacker Bryan Braman, cornerback Nolan Carroll, Jenkins and Maragos and traded for running back/returner Darren Sproles. Last month, they gave center Jason Kelce and tackle Jason Peters contract extensions.
"This is going to be a great year for us, and I'm excited," Allen said. "It's going to be fun."
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