Jared Allen may no longer be giving NFL quarterbacks nightmares with his rare pass-rushing ability, but the former defensive end has found a new sport and is looking to once again compete at the highest level.
Allen and three other former NFL players — quarterback Marc Bulger, linebacker Keith Bulluck and offensive tackle Michael Roos — formed a curling team back in March. They’re calling themselves the All-Pro Curling Team, and their new hobby is much more than just that. The foursome is competing this week at the USA Curling Men’s Challenge in Blaine, Minn., and they want to eventually qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“The entire (curling) community — every team we play — has been very, very welcoming,” Allen told CNN’s Patrick Snell on Thursday. “They realize we’re laughing, we’re joking … but we’re not doing this in a disrespectful manner.”
Allen said that while he and his teammates are clearly having fun, they know what they’re doing. They know the proper techniques of curling and other curlers are taking note.
“We are progressing in a manner that people — the comment we get is, ‘How long have you been doing this? You’ve been doing this for how long?’ and then they’re shocked at where we’re at in such a short time that we’ve been doing it,” Allen added. “So we’ve got to build on that.”
Allen said the idea came up when he made a friendly bet with a friend that he could become an Olympian. He then began recruiting others, and Bulluck said it took barely any convincing. Bulluck had curled before for fun and said he enjoyed drinking beers while doing it, so he joked that “I guess I’m here for the beer.”
The All-Pro Curling Team has a long way to go before they get close to competing at the Olympic level, but you have to admire the dedication. Plenty of star athletes have considered trying to compete in the Olympics after they retire, but most of them don’t end up following through.