Defensive end Jared Allen didn’t join Bears ‘for a one-and-done shot’
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Among other reasons, defensive end Jared Allen signed with the Bears to be part of a defense led by linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman.
But like a lot of things this season, it just wasn’t meant to be.
‘‘Everybody I came to play here with got hurt,’’ Allen said jokingly, ‘‘so maybe I jinxed them or something. It stinks.’’
Allen played only seven games with Briggs, who’s on injured reserve with a groin injury, and two with Tillman, who was lost in Week 2 with a torn triceps. Briggs and Tillman likely are looking at continuing their careers elsewhere. But Allen isn’t.
‘‘I’ve got a lot of respect for them,’’ he said Tuesday. ‘‘I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to finish the year with them. But [I’m] not at all disappointed that I came here because they got hurt. That stuff happens. I got to know them on a personal level.’’
For Allen, the same feelings apply to receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, cornerback Tim Jennings and especially defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, who has missed five games with a concussion and a knee injury. Working with defensive ends Willie Young and Lamarr Houston was a positive, too.
Allen, 32, is set to become the 2015 voice and face of the Bears’ defense, which most likely will have a new coordinator and even more contributions from young players than this season. Allen is already on the books with a salary-cap hit of $12.5 million for 2015 that was guaranteed when he signed last spring.
Consider him all in.
‘‘I didn’t come here for a one-and-done shot,’’ he said. ‘‘I know I’ve still got a lot of football left in me.’’
Barring a big game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, Allen will finish 2014 with the lowest sack total of his 11-year career. He has 5.5 now; his previous low is 7.5 in 2006 with the Kansas City Chiefs.
‘‘Even though the sack numbers were down, it’d be one thing if I wasn’t getting to the quarterback,’’ said Allen, who leads the Bears with 36 quarterback hits, according to coach reviews.
His bout with pneumonia had a significant effect on his season — he sat out the Sept. 28 game against the Green Bay Packers and said he didn’t feel like himself until the Bears’ next matchup with the Packers on Nov. 9.
‘‘I probably had my weight back and I was feeling pretty good again,’’ he said. ‘‘[I] lost a lot of muscle mass, though, and it’s hard to put that on during the season.
‘‘But if I’m on the field, I expect to do things. There’s probably six or seven plays I wish I could have back and get dudes on the ground.’’
Regardless of all this season’s craziness — “You get 61 alpha males in a room, you’re going to have tiffs,’’ Allen said — the time has flown by for Allen because of the bonds with teammates.
‘‘Usually, sometimes when you’re losing, it drags,’’ he said. ‘‘[It went fast] because of the genuine relationships that have been formed.’’