Pretend you didn't know this column was about Jared Allen.

If I would have asked "name the NFL's active career sack leader," would you have known it was him? Be honest. Were you aware Allen is ninth in sacks in league history with 134?

His career had quite a remarkable prime, and just think -- he's a six-sack 2015 away from becoming the sixth member of the 140-sack club. He would join legendary quarterback antagonists Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Chris Doleman and Michael Strahan in that prestigious group.

Allen's in an unusual situation for a player of his stature late his career. On April 3, he turns 33, and had only 5.5 sacks in his first season with the Chicago Bears in 2014.

However, the $12.5 million he's set to make this upcoming season is fully guaranteed, so the Bears would have to eat $12.5 million in dead money -- nearly 9 percent of a $140M cap -- if they cut him.

He's not going anywhere.

Let's take a peak back at Allen's somewhat under-appreciated NFL tenure.

From Idaho to All-Pro

Allen tortured signal-callers for then Division I-AA Idaho State from 2000 to 2003, as he racked up 41.5 sacks and 13 forced fumbles from his defensive end position.

At 6-feet-6 and 265 pounds at the 2004 NFL combine, he sprinted to an impressive 4.72 in the 40-yard dash.

Obviously, because GMs were leery about Allen transitioning from the competition he faced at Idaho State to the monstrous offensive tackles he would see in the NFL, he wasn't picked until the fourth round. The Kansas City Chiefs took him at No. 126 overall.

Just for fun, here are the 12 -- yeah, 12 -- defensive ends who were selected before Allen in the 2004 NFL Draft.

2004: 12 D-ends drafted before Allen
Overall pick Player NFL team School
No. 18 Will Smith Saints Ohio State
No. 20 Kenechi Udeze Vikings Southern Cal
No. 27 Jason Babin Texans Western Mich.
No. 42 Travis LaBoy Titans Hawaii
No. 57 Antwan Odom Titans Alabama
No. 63 Marquise Hill Patriots LSU
No. 88 Darrion Scott Vikings Ohio State
No. 91 Anthony Hargrove Rams Georgia Tech
No. 97 Reggie Torbor Giants Auburn
No. 98 Shaun Phillips Chargers Purdue
No. 103 Bo Schobel Titans TCU
No. 117 Robert Geathers Bengals Georgia

The Chiefs didn't have a first-round pick, but managed to grab defensive tackle Junior Siavii, tight end Kris Wilson, linebacker Keyaron Fox and wide receiver Samie Parker before Allen.


He registered nine sacks as rookie, which led the team. He again led Kansas City in sacks with 11 the next season. After a "down" 2006 with 6.5 quarterback takedowns, Allen exploded with a league-leading 15.5 sacks in 2007.

That offense-wrecking campaign marked the first of three straight first-team All-Pro distinctions.

The Trade

Allen couldn't have had a better contract year. After earning the league minimum on his three-year rookie deal, he had those 15.5 sacks while playing on a one-year, $2.35 million contract he signed with the Chiefs after the 2006 season.

It led to Kansas City hitting him with another one-year contract, this time an $8.8 million franchise tag.

But the tag wasn't used to keep Allen in the nation's midwestern BBQ hub. It was a strategic decision by the front office precipitated by young edge rusher Tamba Hali showing immense promise. League rules state a team that trades its franchise player is compensated (at least) a first-round pick by the team acquiring said franchise player.

In late April 2008, the tagged Allen was shipped to the Minnesota Vikings and signed a massive six-year, $72.3 million deal with a $15.5 million signing bonus. At the time, it was the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history.

Know how a sizable portion of big-ticket free agents or traded players flop?

Yeah, Allen didn't. At all.

In six glorious years with the Vikings, he amassed 85.5 sacks and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2011 when he had 22 sacks.

Not your average NFL player

They don't make many like Jared Allen. Nope.

As he proved to be a consistent double-digit sack guy, unsurprisingly, his stellar mullet and even his grizzly fu manchu became famous.

Allen's hair was important to him. It was ... heck, I'll just let him explain.

When he was one of three finalists to be on the Madden NFL 11 cover, the Vikings stud, who resembles your classic hardcore motorcyclist or maybe a strapping lumberjack, said "If I make the cover, I'm going to straighten my mullet and make it as trashy as possible. You have to highlight the tools that got you there," per

Fantastic point, Jared. I'm with you.

Also, Allen's a fervent outdoorsman.


During his stay in Minnesota, Allen was on a hunting show called Relentless Pursuit that he posted on his website and YouTube. The videos combined have been viewed over 1,000,000 times.

Allen's one of the NFL's toughest, most productive defenders, and he's easily one of its most colorful and unique individuals.

How Much Does Allen Have Left?

With the Bears likely incorporating more 3-4 looks in 2015 under new and well-respected defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Allen, a career-long every-down 4-3 defensive end, might have to play outside linebacker on occasion.

Even if he has to play a new position -- Fangio's not dumb, I imagine he'll predominantly put Allen in a position to rush the quarterback regardless of alignment -- history says he should be able to continue to climb the sack ranks for a while.

Sacks in seasons after turning 32
Player (career sacks) Post-32 sacks
Bruce Smith (200 sacks) 73.5
Reggie White (198 sacks) 61
Kevin Greene (160 sacks) 61
Chris Doleman (150.5 sacks) 62
Michael Strahan (141.5 sacks) 27
Jason Taylor (139.5 sacks) 33.5
John Randle (137.5 sacks) 31.5
Richard Dent (137.5 sacks) 25.5
Average 46.875

Eight players have more career sacks than Allen, and all were productive in seasons after they turned 32.

If Allen hits that average, he'll finish with 180.5 sacks, which would place him behind only Reggie White and Bruce Smith in league history. Even if he only reaches half that average, he'll end his career with 157 sacks, good for fourth all time.

Allen didn't enter pro football through a marquee college, and 12 defensive ends were picked before him in the 2004 draft.

But all he has done in the NFL is routinely devour quarterbacks and provide fans and media with a charming eccentricity they'll never forget.

Jared Allen would give a Hall of Fame induction speech for the ages, wouldn't he?