TROY, N.Y. – Allen Preston is one of the oldest players on the Troy amateur football team.
The 42-year-old has battled through a broken ankle, broken wrist and a bulging disk in his back, but he continues to keep his dream of playing football alive.
“It means the world to me,” he said. “I mean this is my NFL, this is my NCAA. I’m 42, you know. Nick Saban isn’t going to want me to come play for Alabama, or LSU isn’t looking for me, either, so this is about it for me.”
Preston is the oldest player on the Troy Fighting Irish and has been with the amateur football team for as long as any of his teammates can remember.
“He’s been on this team since I started playing,” quarterback Neil Keels said. “He was the center then, he’s the center now. He was old then, he just got a little bit older over time.”
But Preston is still going strong despite being at an age where most players have quit playing the game.
“I don’t know how to quit,” he said. “I don’t know how to give up. I mean I love it too much.”
His body, however, doesn’t always have the fighting spirit.
“My body tells me some days, ‘Why are you doing this,’” he said.
Despite his injuries, the former high school football state champion at Taconic Hills said he never quit for one reason only.
“My daughter,” he said. “I ask her every year if I’ve got to play, and she says yes.”
Preston is happy to show his 11-year-old daughter Morgan her dad can still battle in the trenches.
“I know I’m getting to the point where I’m not going to be able to do this much longer, so I guess I gotta go as bad as I can,” he said.
Preston has helped the team capture four straight league titles, and he said he plans to keep going until his daughter says he can quit.
“Until I look at her and go, ‘Morgan, can dad give it up?’ and she says, ‘You know what, dad? Yes,’” he explained.