POSITION: DEFENSIVE END
HOMETOWN: LOS GATOS, CALIF.
COLLEGE: IDAHO STATE
At the age of eight, Jared Allen told his father he wanted to become a professional football player. And, in order to do so, his father, Ron, told him to eat, sleep and breathe football until he achieved his goal.
With a league-leading 15 ½ sacks in 2008, amounting to 43 total in his four short years in the NFL, it’s safe to say that Jared’s met his goal.
In the 2008 season, he also garnered 10 deflected passes, three forced fumbles and two offensive touchdowns.
To many, Jared is most recognizable for his profound statistics on the field. That’s why he was selected as a first-time 2008 pro-bowler, twice-picked by USA Today’s All Joe Team, and adorned one of the highest salaries ever for an NFL defensive player.
But it’s not the paycheck, numbers or accolades that define Jared’s character—it’s his insatiable appetite for life.
When the six-foot-six, 260-pounder is not hunting quarterbacks from the defensive line, or adhering to a rigorous training regiment in the off-season, the 28-year-old can be found with a hearty smile atop a puffed lip full of Red Man chew, hunting rifle in hand, combing the world for his next adventurous conquest.
Since being picked by the Kansas City Chiefs as a fourth-round draft pick from Idaho State University in 2004, Jared’s been red stag hunting in New Zealand, running with the bulls in Spain, skydiving in Arizona, zip-lining through the rain forests of Costa Rica and bear hunting in Idaho. He even killed a 200-pound wild boar, equipped with only a hunting knife.
Raised on the outskirts of San Jose, Calif. on a horse ranch in the small farming town of Morgan Hills, Jared has grown up a peculiar product of his environment.
Aside from tending to the stables, Jared has heeded his father’s words and lived for football.
He stuck out as a large boy throughout his youth; a devastating force as Los Gatos High School’s most valuable player, racking up 96 tackles and 12 sacks his senior year. In lieu of his astounding statistics, he went on to be named First-Team All-League and earned the title of 2000 Defensive Player of the Year.
His work ethics and desire to be the best defensive end to play the game stayed with him through his college career at ISU. After four straight years being named All Big Sky Conference, he soon became known as the most prolific pass rusher in Division I-AA football. And, in his senior year, Jared became the first player ever from his division to receive the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the nation.
After being drafted by the Chiefs in 2004, acquired mainly for his long-snapping abilities, Jared went to work quickly to carve out a name for himself. He cracked into the starting lineup the sixth game into his rookie season as a defensive end and amassed a team-high nine sacks by the end of the year. He has since dominated the defensive line and has become one of the most feared by quarterbacks in the league.
As one of the newest members of the Minnesota Vikings, Jared’s got a lot more proving to do—more staggering statistics to garner—before he wins the approval of his critics.
But to those from Morgan Hills who know him best, Jared will always be the adventurous farm-boy who’s persistence enough to live out his dreams, while fearless enough to sport a mullet.