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Former NFL star Jared Allen competing at Curling National Championships in Denver

Allen retired from football in February 2016. Shortly after, he picked up the sport of curling.

DENVER — Jared Allen, a former NFL All-Pro defensive end, is now chasing a new athletic dream -- to compete at the Olympics in curling.

Allen is currently in Denver, competing at the 2023 USA Curling National Championships. The winners of the event will go on to represent the USA at the World Championships. 

Eight men's and eight women's teams are competing for four spots each in the playoff round, which will be held on Friday. The finals are scheduled for Saturday. 

The team Jared Allen is on is 3-2 in round-robin play as of Wednesday evening, putting them in a three-way tie for third place. Two men's teams have a better record at 4-1.

Credit: Bob Weder

The team is skippered by Jason Smith and also includes Dominik Maerki and Hunter Clawson. 

They began the tournament with an upset win over John Shuster's team. Shuster led his team to the USA's first curling gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

There are also seven local athletes competing at the event: Darryl Sobering, Alec Celecki, Sean Stevinson, DJ Johnson, Josh Chetwynd, Lance Wheeler  and Clare Moores. 

Credit: Bob Weder

This is Allen's third time at the Curling National Championships. 

Allen played in the NFL for 12 seasons, six of them with the Minnesota Vikings. He played in Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers. He's a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro selection. He was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2022.

Credit: AP Photo/Abbie Parr
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen rides a horse onto the field before being inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime of an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

After his retirement in 2016, he made a bet with a friend who said he couldn't make the U.S. team in any sport, according to the Minnesota Vikings.

"I thought curling was going to be a lot easier than it was," Allen told Rachel Blount, a reporter with Minnesota's 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." 

The U.S. Men's and Women's National Championships are being held at the Denver Coliseum through Saturday. Event tickets start at $24 and are available here. The events can also be watched online here.


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