Add Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen to the list of what seems to be the many stud-NFL players who’ve decided to hang up the cleats in 2016 (Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Jerod Mayo, maybe Peyton Manning). On Thursday, Allen posted a video on Twitter hinting at retirement and what he calls “riding off into the sunset:”
Riding off into the sunset pic.twitter.com/wZXovseGKS
— Jared Allen (@JaredAllen69) February 18, 2016
Along with the Twitter-vid, Allen also released a statement on his retirement through his agent, Ken Harris to Mike Garafolo of FOX-Sports:
“I want to take this time to thank my family, friends fans, and teammates who have given their continued support throughout my 12 year career. It’s been a great ride for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the memories. It is with a great deal of thought and consideration, that I have decided that I will not return to football next year. I want to thank the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs organizations, who provided me with an opportunity to live out my dream and to be a part of their wonderful communities. Thanks for the lifelong memories.”
Allen’s tremendous NFL career ends with him having recorded 136 total sacks (solo/combined), tying him for ninth all-time. While Allen was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, he is known as the ultimate Minnesota Viking. Allen was traded to Minnesota in 2008 for multiple early-round draft picks and immediately became one of the faces of the franchise as well as one of the highest-paid defensive players in league history at the time (6 years-$72 million, $15.5 million signing bonus, $8 million roster bonus in 2010).
Immediately upon his arrival in Minnesota, Allen became a game changer for the Vikings as he anchored their defense and helped lead the team to the 2009 NFC Championship Game, where they fell in overtime to the New Orleans Saints. In 2011, Allen accounted for a ridiculous 22 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three pass deflections.
After signing a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears during free agency this past summer, Allen was traded to the Carolina Panthers and helped the team make a run to the Super Bowl. Allen fractured a bone in his foot during the divisional round against Seattle and was forced to miss the NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals. Allen returned for Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos playing limited snaps, but Carolina fell 24-10.
For those who never saw it, Allen also appeared in the movie Jackass 3 in 2010, where he puts on a hitting clinic on the film’s star Johnny Knoxville:
— Mike Flanagan (@fLAno0) February 18, 2016
Allen was a five-time Pro Bowler (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012), and a four-time first-team All-Pro (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011).