Jared Allen is “excited!” In a 25-minute question and answer session, Allen used the word excited 20 times. This guy is too amped to be faking it.
What Allen is the most excited about are some of the Bears’ veterans he’ll be joining, and his real belief his new club can contend for a Super Bowl.
Allen spoke reverently about Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, but the guy he’s the most “excited” to play with is Jeremiah Ratliff.
“One of the people that excites me the most is Jay Ratliff. He is an absolute beast in the middle. What he can do from the nose tackle spot or the three-technique is huge. To have a guy that can consistently get 3 or 4 yards deep means the quarterback’s got one way to go, to him or me.”
Allen just hasn’t gotten the memo yet about Ratliff’s name now being Jeremiah.
He also appears to be over the moon about being a Chicago Bear.
“I’m here for a reason. All my criteria were met after talking to the coaches, but I have to know that I can fit in here. Knowing the history of the Chicago Bears is super cool. I’ve always liked Chicago – I’ve got family here. For me it all kind of fell in line at the right time at the right place. When everything lined up there was no doubt this was the best fit for myself, for my family and what I see as the future going forward. We have a great chance to win.”
Allen is also impressed with general manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and Vice President of Football Administration Cliff Stein. Both he and Emery pointed out this was not an easy deal to get done.
The Bears’ new right end explained: “They got creative on things to make it work on both sides, and to come into an organization that is wiling to make it work and to know we can trust they’re going to do what they say, and they trust we’ll do what we say, was huge.”
Allen appears to be absolutely genuine in his belief the Bears are a contender.
“It’s a cool feeling when you go into an offseason knowing you have a chance to win,” he said. “In the NFL, as players, all we ask for is a chance to win every game you’re in. My excitement comes with being here, knowing that there’s going to be opportunities to play some great defense and win multiple games.
“It came down to fit. You never know who’s going to win a Super Bowl. If I had a glass (pretty sure he meant crystal) ball to tell me, great, but I wanted a chance to go out and win a Super Bowl, and when everything lined up, Chicago is where I was supposed to be. All respect to Seattle, it’s a great organization but this is where I was supposed to be.”
Allen did want to make perfectly clear; he didn’t come to Chicago to be a situational pass rusher.
“I’m gonna play. I like to break a guy down and I know, if I work on him long enough, he’s going to make a mistake. I come from an old-school mentality, so I’m not going to tap my helmet. I’ll be smart about it . . . but I wouldn’t be here if they told me I was going to be a third-down rush guy. I feel like I can make waves, I want to win a Super Bowl. I feel like I’m still the best at what I do, if not thee, one of.”
Bears fans hope he’s right, but this much is already sure. There is a new attitude around Halas Hall these days. Emery keeps talking about winning championships, and now with Allen here, he’s got the players believing they can.
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for ChicagoFootball.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.