Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen, who reached Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers this past season, announced his retirement from football Thursday.
Allen posted a video on social media about his decision:
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 life long memories.
The 33-year-old star was asked about his status leading up the Super Bowl. He didn't want to tip his hand in either direction, but admitted the final decision would depend on his conversations with his family, as noted by John Holler of Scout.com.
"I really don’t know," Allen said. "Those are conversations I’m going to have with my wife, my kids and the family. That will be what it is when it is."
Apparently those talks led him to decide now is the right time to hang up his cleats for good.
Allen started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. He went on to make stops with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears before finishing his career with a half-year tour in Carolina.
The Idaho State product finishes his 12-season run in the NFL with 642 combined tackles, 136 sacks, 58 passes defended, 32 forced fumbles and six interceptions in 187 regular-season games. He also played seven playoff games, but could never capture a Super Bowl title.
Jonathan Jones and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reported the Panthers were planning to cut Allen if he didn't retire. Adam Caplan of ESPN noted that the team will receive $8.5 million in cap savings following the lineman's decision to walk away from the remaining two years on his deal.
Kony Ealy, who shined in the Super Bowl with three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble, figures to take on a more extensive role with Allen gone. The Panthers could also look to the free-agent market to acquire some veteran depth for the rotation.
Allen was one of the league's most dynamic edge rushers at his peak, and he racked up 22 sacks during the 2011 season with the Vikings. But his production dropped off this year with just two sacks in 15 games between the Bears and Panthers, which likely factored into his decision.
Between the high-end numbers of his prime seasons, the Pro Bowl appearances and the four First-Team All Pro selections, he's got a solid Hall of Fame case when that time comes. For now, he can celebrate a terrific career and the start of his life's next chapter.