A foursome of former NFL players are attempting to qualify for the U.S. national curling championships as they dream of representing the United States at the 2020 Winter Olympics.
The four players – Jared Allen, Michael Roos, Marc Bulger and Keith Bulluck – formed a curling team with the name All-Pro Curling Team as three of the four players were All-Pro football players at some point in their NFL careers. Bulger was a two-time Pro Bowl selection as well.
According to Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press, the group is competing this weekend at the USA Men’s Challenge Round in Minnesota with four spots available for the national championships next month.
“Every team in the NFL — whether you’re hot garbage or the defending Super Bowl champions — every coach come August says the same thing: ‘We’re trying to win the Super Bowl,’” Allen said. “We come from that mentality, where we set lofty goals.
“Our short term goals are continually to get better: Fundamentals, strategy, sweeping. We know if we master these little things, it will take us a long way.”
Allen and Bulger combined with a pair of regular curlers last month and played the U.S. gold medal winning team of John Shuster,Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner. They lost that match 11-3.
“Honestly, they were a little better than I had expected,” Hamilton said. “All in all, Jared was technically pretty sound. But at the end of the day, I’ve seen thousands of curling shots and situations and that is ultimately going to win us more games.”
The group is now going at it on their own, losing their first match of the qualifiers 10-1 to a Seattle-based team. Nevertheless, the former NFL stars are committed to getting better and competing in their new sport.
“The message is: We want to bring attention to it. We want to have fun with it,” Allen said. “But we’re dead serious about what we’re trying to accomplish.”