After 12 years in the NFL, Carolina Panthers defensive end (and certified sack-master) Jared Allen announced his retirement Wednesday morning.
In a video posted to his Twitter account, Allen, who was sitting atop a horse under a gray sky, thanked viewers for following him during his time in the league.
“This was the part where I was gonna ride off into the sunset,” Allen said. “But seeing how there’s no sunset, I’m just gonna ride off.”
Allen was a defensive terror for most of his years in the NFL. He consistently put up double-digit sack figures, and he led the league in quarterback takedowns during the 2011 season, when he racked up 22 sacks. Allen posted eight seasons with 11 sacks or more. Only Bruce Smith (nine) and Reggie White (12) totaled more.
As he battled injuries and age, Allen’s defensive statistics dipped during the past two seasons, spent with the Chicago Bears (2014) and the Carolina Panthers.
Off the field, Allen was a tireless worker. His improbable rise from Division I-AA football to NFL All-Pro is a testament to his work ethic and to the position-specific workouts he performed under Chip Smith—workouts that were both demanding and innovative.
Riding off into the sunset—or the closest available backdrop to that—is a fitting wrap-up for a guy who grew up on a horse ranch outside San Jose. Happy trails, Jared. It’s been real.