A man who once chased a quarterback out of the end zone is now chasing something else entirely.
Former NFL defensive lineman Jared Allen has taken up curling, and he wants to take his new hobby all the way to the 2022 Olympics.
“My friend told me I couldn’t become an Olympian,” Allen said told Dane Mizutani of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It was kind of just talk, and then I started looking at some of the sports I thought I’d be capable of doing. I was actually looking at badminton at first, and then it kind of transpired into curling. That’s kind of how everything got started.”
Allen will compete on Friday night in a curling event with fellow former NFL player Marc Bulger, professional curler Hunter Clawson, and former Olympian John Benton.
“We’re kind of getting thrown to the wolves here going up against the gold medalists,” Allen told Mizutani. “I’m not coming in unarmed, though. We stacked our team with an Olympian, as well. . . . We have nothing to lose. It’s like we’re a Division I-AA team going up against freaking Alabama. Nobody expects us to do anything. Hopefully we leave some people pleasantly surprised.”
Allen was very surprised the first time he tried curling, working with Bulger and former NFLers Keith Bullock and Michael Roos.
“The biggest shock was how much core strength it takes to get the slide down correctly,” Allen said. “It takes a while. It’s a bit awkward at first, and we all fell a bunch. Just getting the technique down was the biggest surprise. Now it’s about learning strategy and learning muscle memory and stuff like that. . . . We played in the NFL, so we are mentally tough. We are able to move on from things quickly. We are also able to take coaching and push each other without getting our feelings hurt. Hopefully that allows us to catch up to some of these elite players a little quicker.”
While it may rankle the curling community to have guys like Allen show up and act like it’s a sport that can easily be mastered, guys like Allen can bring a lot of attention to the sport. As evidenced by the fact that I’ve just written a post about curling.