Ty Allen knows he’s on a path with no shortage of obstacles.

The former Merced College center is trying to make it to the National Football League after going undrafted out of Tennessee State back in 2018. Still, the unexpected folding of the Alliance of American Football league just eight weeks into its inaugural season was like a punch to the gut.

Just when the start of Allen’s pro football career seemed to be gaining momentum as a member of the Memphis Express, it screeched to a halt.

“It’s been a long roller coaster ride with the whole league shut down,” Allen said. “It was great while it lasted. I was the youngest offensive lineman on the team. I was learning a ton of technique and felt like I was really starting to do some things. I’d even started the last three games.

“It had been a long year since the draft and right when it felt like I’m finally progressing, the league closed and I was right back to the bottom.”

Discouraged, but not defeated, Allen has taken his latest setback in stride.

While the folding of the AAF was disappointing, Allen was encouraged by the results. A number of players from the league were signed to NFL contracts after showing what they could do. NFL minicamps get going in earnest at the end of May and beginning of June and the 6-foot-3, 300-pound center hopes he’s shown enough to garner an invite.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers have contacted my agent a couple times. They just want to see more film,” Allen said. “That’s probably the worst part of the league closing, was I only have a couple of games to show to teams. I’m not going to let that stop me.

“This is what I’ve been working for my whole life. I just want to make a better situation for my two younger brothers. All I can do is control what I can control and try not to worry about the rest.”

If no NFL team does come calling, Allen still has options, including an upcoming tryout with the recently resurrected eight-team X-Treme Football League, which in set to begin play in 2020.

While he waits for things to unfold, Allen has returned to Merced to stay in shape and help coach the offensive line at Merced College for the second straight season.

“The main reason why I came back to Merced College is because it’s where it all started,” Allen said. “It makes me stay humble and focused. Everyone knows (junior college) football is a tough situation. I’ve been there and I’ve gotten out the other side.

“That’s something I can bring to these guys.”

Allen said as an added bonus, coaching the Blue Devils gives him some valuable experience if his NFL dreams never become a reality.

“I love working with kids,” Allen said. “I definitely see myself teaching and coaching when it’s all said and done.”