LOS BANOS, Calif. – Three of Josh Allen's coaches gathered on the field where he played Pop Warner for them and discussed their quarterback's long-shot journey to the NFL.
Head coach Michael Tate, offensive coordinator Tyrell Jenkins and defensive coordinator Chauncey Lee are men of color. None was asked what he thought of the controversial tweets that surfaced the day before the Buffalo Bills drafted Allen seventh overall.
Unsolicited, a conversation materialized at Loftin Stadium.
"There are going to be people around the world who are entitled to their opinions," Jenkins said, "but if they sat down and ever met the kid they would know he's the farthest thing from racist."
Tate cut in.
"Or they can come to us, and we'll tell you he's nothing like that," Tate added. "His family is nothing like that.
"These kids say these things. They should take it out of the rap music. He was young. He said it, my kids say it, and they shouldn't. But he was a kid."
Six-year-old tweets featuring racial slurs hit the internet on the eve of Allen's biggest day, the realization of a dream that began on his family farm in Firebaugh, Calif., and traversed zero scholarship offers out of high school and two snubs from his beloved Fresno State Bulldogs.
Allen tweeted the N-word as an adolescent. He quoted rap lyrics and repeated a joke from the ABC sitcom "Modern Family."
"Nobody should say it," said Tate, now linebackers coach at Los Banos High. "We had to check our team last year because they were saying it and thinking it was something cool. I wasn't going to accept it. I told them, 'I'll walk off the field if you continue using it.' "
The timing of Allen's tweets resurfacing suggested someone -- perhaps a jealous rival or the agent of another quarterback -- wanted to inflict maximum damage on his reputation.
"I just want him to continue being him," Tate said. "Don't ever forget where you come from and play the game at the highest level possible.
"I think he has a long career ahead. I want him to enjoy it."
Story topics: Josh Allen