The Chicago Bears have bolstered their defensive line by signing defensive end Jared Allen to a four-year contract, the team announced this morning.
This is big news considering Allen spent the last six years of his career chasing down Chicago quarterbacks as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The defensive end released a statement thanking the Minnesota fans for their support over the years.
“I’d like to take a moment to thank my former teammates, coaches and the staff at the Minnesota Vikings for all of their inspiring work and dedication,” he said. “Perhaps more importantly I would like to thank the fans and the Minnesota community. I can only hope that I have left with you all, with even a fraction of the positive support and impact you have had on my life, my foundation and my family."
Allen has registered an average of 14 1/2 sacks over the last seven seasons. During the same span he never failed to finish with fewer than 11 sacks. He led the NFL in sacks in 2007 and 2011.
"We are extremely happy for Jared, his wife Amy, our fans and the Chicago Bears that Jared has agreed to terms and will be joining the Bears family," Bears general manager Phil Emery said in a statement. "This is another important step in our continued efforts to build our team towards a championship level."
Allen in his statement says he is "very excited" about his career's next chapter with the Bears, and "can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. God bless.”
The Vikings released a statement from general manager Rick Spielman regarding Allen's departure.
"We wish Jared the best as he turns to the next chapter of his NFL career," it reads. "Not only was he an outstanding player on the field for the Vikings over his six seasons, but he also helped change lives in our community through his charitable work. Jared will always be a fan favorite, and we hope he stays involved with the Vikings franchise in years to come."
The move is a bit shocking considering reports last week indicated, that barring unforeseen changes, Allen was going to sign with the Seahawks. That report was quickly put to rest when it was reported Allen would take the weekend to decide his future.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports the deal is worth $32 million, although the final year can be voided. $15.5 million is guaranteed.
"We're really excited about adding Jared to our football team," said coach Marc Trestman, a native of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. "We know what his abilities bring to the table. Jared is certainly a very experienced player in the league. We believe he's going to come in hungry and excited to be part of our football team, and we believe he'll fit right in with the other new players that we've added and the guys that are already on the defensive side of the ball. I know that our defensive coaches are excited as well."
Get ready, Vikings fans, Allen will be chasing down Vikings quarterbacks for the next few years.