Former NFL defensive end Jared Allen and his curling team are one step closer to his quest of medaling in his new sport.
Allen's team, skippered by Jason Smith, upset the team led by 2018 Olympic gold medalist John Smith, 10-6, during the opening round of the U.S. Championships tournament on Sunday (February 5), Yahoo Sports reports.
Allen, 40, began curling in 2018 after the conclusion of his decorated 12-year NFL career, initially competing on a team with former NFL quarterback Marc Bulger, linebacker Keith Bulluck and offensive tackle Michael Roos. The four-time All-Pro publicly vowed to medal in curling and has the opportunity to represent the United States at the World Championships in Ottawa this spring if his team wins the ongoing tournament, which would also put them closer to qualifying for the 2026 Winter Olympic in Milan-Cortina, Italy.
"I thought curling was going to be a lot easier than it was," Allen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune last week. "But I'm one of those guys who, once I start something, I'm going to see it through. Our goal at nationals is to beat as many teams as we possibly can and see where we land."
Allen is currently making his third appearance at the ongoing U.S. Championships as the second position on a Nashville based team that currently ranks 89th globally and fifth among American teams, according to the World Curling Federation. The Dallas native was one of football's all-time greatest pass rushers during his NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-07), Minnesota Vikings (2008-13), Chicago Bears (2014-15) and Carolina Panthers (2015).
Allen led the NFL in sacks twice (2007, 2011), which tied seven other players for the most times leading the league in sacks during the Super Bowl era. The former Idaho State standout recorded 136.0 sacks, 648 tackles, 4 safeties, six interceptions, 57 pass deflections, 32 forced fumbles, 19 fumble recoveries and 4 total touchdowns during his NFL career.