By Matthew Asher
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Jared Scot Allen – DE – #69
Weight: 270 lbs.
Hometown: Dallas, TX
College: Idaho State
Experience: 10 years (4th round pick in 2004 NFL Draft)
The Chicago Bears are known for having some of the best defensive players in the NFL, ever. Hall of Famers include Doug Atkins, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary. With Brian Urlacher retiring last season, it looks like the Bears have found their new cornerstone defender: sack-master Jared Allen.
Allen was born in Dallas, but grew up in California. As a senior in high school, Allen played for Los Gatos High and was named First-Team All-League and Defensive Player of the Year. That season he was responsible for 96 tackles, 12 sacks and five forced fumbles as well as five fumble recoveries.
Idaho State is where Allen played college football. As a member of the Bengals, he played in 41 games, while starting in 33 of them. He was originally supposed to be redshirted his freshman season, but the coaching staff decided to let him play in eight games as a true freshman. Allen recorded 39 tackles, four sacks and one interception his freshman season. Even though he didn’t start any of the games that season, Allen’s play was good enough to earn him Honorable Mention All-Big Sky honors.
From that point on, Allen started in every college game he played in. After four years with Idaho State, Allen had recorded 250 tackles, 41 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and three interceptions.
Allen was selected with the 126th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round. While his first few years in the league were fine, the 2006 season was when Allen finally started to make a name for himself. He started all 16 games, recorded his first NFL interception that season and picked up 77 total tackles, the most he’s had in any season so far. This would also be the last season that Allen recorded less than 10 sacks in a season.
After four seasons with the Chiefs, he was traded to Minnesota and signed to a six-year contract. Worth more than $72 million, at the time it was the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Allen instantly rewarded the Vikings organization by recording 14.5 sacks in 2008.
Fortunately for the Vikings, Allen wasn’t simply a flash-in-the-pan guy. That would be the last time Allen would be held to less than 10 sacks. In his six seasons with Minnesota, Allen recorded 85.5 sacks, including 22 in 2011 and had a sack in 11 straight games from 2010-2011, all Vikings records.
In addition to all the sacks (Allen’s 128.5 currently ranks him 12th all-time and second among active players behind John Abraham), he has been selected to five Pro Bowls, four All-Pro teams and was the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. A free-agent this offseason, Allen decided to sign a four-year $32 million contract with the Chicago Bears. If Allen can average just 12 sacks a season (with Minnesota he averaged 14.25 a season) during his four years with Chicago, that would currently place him third all-time below only Hall of Famers Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198).