No, Jared Allen—defensive end of the Minnesota Vikings—does not have a famous dance, like Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, nor is vocal in the media compared to his NFL brothers. Allen dances famously around and through offensive linemen, allowing his game to speak for him. Allen also does not have a famous praying pose that is mocked globally, like Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow who kneels before and after games.
Allen shares the same faith as Tebow, which as great. Although, Allen is not known through the media for his beliefs, as many athletes are. But as hard as he attacks quarterbacks and ball carriers, this Dallas native takes a furious approach to his faith, which he priorities first.
“You really have to focus on the task at hand week in and week out,” said Allen. “For me, football is not my main priority. I try to keep my focus on Christ, my family and then football. I try to bring a positive attitude to the work place and I think if other guys see me having success, as I fight and playing through the losses, that would bring them along too.”
Allen will journey to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his great nine-year career this season, despite experiencing past troubles. In 2004, Allen was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round from Idaho State and quietly, but quickly made an impact.
There is an old, but wise saying of every great man has been through something (or something like that), and Allen absolutely makes those words true.
Three times, Allen was arrested and charged for DUI, once in 2002—while in college—and twice in 2006, when he was with the Chiefs. Ultimately, Allen had to spend 48 hours in jail, due to another incident.
For some odd reason, the Chiefs’ organization did not want to commit to Allen—who probably was their best defensive end since the late, great Hall of Fame defensive end Derrick Thomas.
Thomas, who set the record for the most sacks in a single game with seven, died Feb. 8, 2000 after sustained blood clots, which developed in his lower extremities and journeyed to his lungs, due to a car accident the prior week. Thomas is considered as one of the greatest pass rushers in NFL history.
After the Vikings win over the Washington Redskins Dec. 24, the visitor’s locker room was upbeat, but loaded with thoughts of what could have been, as Minnesota finished with a 3-13 record. While players rushed to get dressed to get to their buses, Allen, the greasy vet, calmly put on his suit with his usual good mood attitude.
“For me, it’s a no brainer,” said Allen when asked about staying focused despite losing tight contests. “Like I said, it’s (football) not my life. So, therefore it does not affect my mood… you know what I mean. So I focus on Christ and all circumstances off into place.”
When Allen was traded to the Vikings in 2008, he signed a six-year deal with the club worth $72.36 million. Since then, Allen has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Vikings as he tackled many honors, including joining the 100 sack club.
Allen credits the organization for signing men to the squad who are talented, great character guys.
“They (the Vikings’ organization) do a great job in bringing good character guys in,” said Allen. “The foundation of our guys are guys with high character who are highly competitive and they all want to compete and do well.”
Allen and the Vikings were victims of the late heroics of Tebow this season as the team lost 35-32 in Minnesota. Other than Allen’s belief in the Broncos’ quarterback capabilities, he felt Tebow’s impact this season was amazing.
“I think it’s amazing, I really do.” said Allen. “I think to have a positive message out there, especially in this league when we get so much negative attention when things happen, Tebow was refreshing.”
Allen has faced many challenges in his life. Now, this 29-year-old defensive end has quietly changed his life. In addition, Allen hopes to be an example for others, his teammates and his family with solid supporters around him.
“I just try to live right, you know…I’m not going to push my faith in anyone’s face,” said Allen with a sincere look. “If someone asks me about what God has done in my life, I’ll tell them. For me, I try not to curse anymore (laughter). I just try to live a life that guys can see. When I invite people to my house and when they ask questions, I can tell them it’s God’s gift and I’m trying to do God’s will.
“So, I will never throw it (his faith) in anyone’s face and I will never judge anyone because I’m not going to be perfect, you are not going to be perfect, as we all fall short,” he added. “Just putting your faith through action is such a big part. When I have bible study at my house, guys are always welcome to come. I have a bible in my locker and we (the Vikings) have great spiritual leaders on our team like (Eric) Frampton and (Ryan) Longwell.
“That’s the best thing for me, lead by example,” he continued. “I’ll always be faithful to my wife, be a good father and follow Christ above all. If you can do things like that, other people will see that and follow suit.”
Pro Bowl Weekend is not an exciting event on the NFL’s calendar. Football is a violent sport and NFL players will not play as hard because they do not want to risk any injury in a game that is meaningless. Some honored players do not attend the Pro Bowl for several reasons. However, becoming a Pro Bowler is not easy and fortunate individuals shouldn’t take the honor lightly.
Allen is appreciative of the Pro Bowl honor, as he prepares for the contest Sunday. Allen finished the 2011 season with 66 tackles, 22 sacks (a franchise record), four forced fumbles, and an interception.
Moreover, Allen, who eventually will be in Canton after his playing career is over, continues to have fun and go all out, while playing for the respect of others and honoring his Lord at the same time.
“I’m just having fun, honestly,” said Allen as he was grinning from ear to ear. “I thank God first of all to be blessed to have this job and through tough times like this, things could be a lot worst. So, I’m just happy to be in the position I’m in…I have a healthy family, so I can just go out there (on the field) and play.
“I do it for the respect of my teammates,” he added. “I want the guys across me to know that they are in for a heck of a game that day and I play for the respect of the guys, win, lose or draw.”