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Defensive lineman Jared Allen retired from the NFL in 2015
23-08-2019, 04:21 AM
Příspěvek: #1
Defensive lineman Jared Allen retired from the NFL in 2015
His solution: The Olympics.The problem: He didn’t compete in any Olympic sports.Less than a year later http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-au...-ii-jersey , Allen and three other former NFL stars — none with any prior experience — are attempting to qualify for the U.S. national curling championships against players who have been throwing stones for most of their lives.It would be the first step toward competing in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.“Every team in the NFL — whether you’re hot garbage or the defending Super Bowl champions — every coach come August says the same thing: ‘We’re trying to win the Super Bowl,'” Allen said. “We come from that mentality, where we set lofty goals.“Our short-term goals are continually to get better: fundamentals, strategy, sweeping. We know if we master these little things, it will take us a long way.”A 12-year NFL veteran who spent most of his career with the Chiefs and Vikings, Allen was lamenting the end of his playing days when a friend dared him to try an Olympic sport. Allen toyed with the idea of badminton but rejected it as too taxing.“We thought about curling: It was chill, and the winners have to buy the losers beer,” he said. “We thought it was a win-win.”He rounded up former Rams quarterback Marc Bulger and Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck and tackle Michael Roos to form a team; all were Pro Bowl selections during their NFL careers, and living in the Nashville, Tennessee, area.Adopting the name All-Pro Curling Team, they started from scratch in March and kept their plans under wraps until they felt like they had made enough progress.“We wanted the reaction when we got on the ice to be, ‘Oh, how long have you guys been doing this?” Allen said in a telephone interview after practicing on a converted hockey rink in Nashville. “We were serious. We didn’t want it to seem like it was just some media hype, or just trying to stay relevant.”The first test was in November, when Allen and Bulger — with two “regular” curlers — competed in the Curl Mesabi Classic in Northern Minnesota. Their first opponent: The gold medal-winning team from Pyeongchang led by four-time Olympian John Shuster.They lost 11-3, giving up five points in the sixth end.“Honestly, they were a little better than I had expected,” said Matt Hamilton, the second on that team. “All in all, Jared was technically pretty sound. But at the end of the day, I’ve seen thousands of curling shots and situations, and that is ultimately going to win us more games.”Although curling matches are often conceded when they are out of reach, the Olympians kept playing through the eighth (of 10) ends, to help the football players gain the experience they will need if they are to be more competitive. (If it’s any consolation for Allen’s crew, Shuster’s rink also scored a five-ender against Sweden in the gold medal match.)“We had one bad end, and we just kept playing with them. We just wanted to be a sponge,” Bulger said. “The key was they knew we were taking it seriously. It wasn’t just us saying Marquise Brown Jersey , ‘We’re going to take over curling,’ kind of as a gimmick.“We hope to play them again,” he said, “when we’re better.”The All-Pros are back at it at the USA Men’s Challenge Round in Blaine, Minnesota, this weekend, where they are competing for one of four remaining spots in next month’s national championships. (Top teams such as Shuster’s have already qualified.)They got off to a rough start in their first match, falling 10-1 to Steve Birklid’s Seattle-based rink on Thursday night. But, by hopping into the sport early in the Olympic cycle, they have almost three more years before the team for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing is chosen.Hamilton confessed that he was put off at first about newcomers thinking they could go to the Olympics after four years in a sport he has worked at to master his entire life. But he also realized that the publicity will be good for curling, which has struggled to break out of its niche as an every-four-years curiosity.“If I really think I’m that good, I should be like, ‘Bring it on!'” Hamilton said in an email to The Associated Press from a competition in Japan. “How much they respected the game, though, is what made me realize they aren’t making a mockery. We just have some extremely athletic individuals who respect sport but have a need to compete in their blood. Can’t disrespect that!”100<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaAll four football players agreed that the reception they’ve received from lifetime curlers has been decidedly different than the one that might welcome a curler who tried to break into the hyper-competitive NFL.“Oh, he’d get smashed,” Allen said. “We’d go out of our way to test his mettle, for sure.”Instead, the ex-NFLers found that the tight-knit but friendly community of curlers was eager to accept them. In their match against the Olympians, there was trash-talking — or banter, depending on whom you ask — and Hamilton even gave them some of his old curling gear.“I looked at their broom heads and I was disgusted. I was wondering why these former pro football players couldn’t afford new broom heads,” he said. “So I went into my curling bag and gave them some gently used ones before the game. That really surprised Jared, claiming nothing like that would ever fly in football.”Like many of those who experience curling only every four years, on TV, the football players saw the sweeping and the shouting and underestimated how hard it is. “We played football, but it’s a lot of muscles we didn’t use,” Bulger said.Sliding on the ice was also an adjustment, but the biggest challenge has been the strategy.When he first started watching, Bulger said http://www.ravensfootballauthentics.com/...-authentic , he would see curlers setting up protective stones called guards and thought they were missing their shots.“We just assumed that you throw to the button every time, and we learned that is not the game,” he said. “It’s like a novice chess player going against” a grandmaster.But their NFL experience did help in other ways, priming them with not just physical fitness, but also good practice habits, the ability to make decisions on the fly and to improve through film study and coaching.“Like any other sport you have to learn, try to figure out how to get better,” Bulluck said. “Playing football at a very high level, being one of the best at the position once upon a time, to get to that level in anything you do you have to be able to take coaching.”And, of course, they’re competitive.“The message is: We want to bring attention to it. We want to have fun with it,” Allen said. “But we’re dead serious about what we’re trying to accomplish.” ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — There were times when George Halas was so strapped for cash that he had to borrow from his kids to help keep the Chicago Bears going.That’s what his daughter, Virginia McCaskey, remembered.The Bears were struggling to stay afloat in the late 1920s and early 1930s, so much so that Halas, the founder of the franchise, had to turn to his children. He did that just to pay the family’s groceries and rent.“I often use the word survival because of what was involved,” McCaskey said. “Fortunately, for us and for so many people now, it all worked out.”McCaskey mentioned her dad, Halas, holding part-ownership in a commercial laundry company, working in real estate and selling cars as he tried to keep his other businesses going.The Bears and the NFL both have come a long way since then.The Bears held their 100th anniversary celebration over the weekend in what was billed as the franchise’s largest gathering of stars past and present.Stars such as Mike Ditka, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton were on hand this weekend. Even Gale Sayers, weakened by dementia, made the 130-mile trip from his home in Indiana to attend the opening ceremonies on Friday night Miles Boykin Jersey , getting a rousing ovation in an emotional moment.“This weekend has been like a happy dream that keeps going on and on,” McCaskey, the 96-year-old team matriarch, said Sunday.She recalled the tough times after the Great Depression hit, with her father working various jobs and even borrowing from his children just so the family could eat and keep a roof over their head. Their money was in savings accounts established by Grandma Halas, who would send birthday and Christmas checks each year.When she sees the gleaming, expanded suburban headquarters that bears her father’s name, it’s almost difficult to believe how far the franchise has come.“It’s hard to imagine these days with all the millions and millions of dollars that people are talking about,” McCaskey said. “Each time I go up there, I think, ‘Does this really belong to us? Is this really part of our organization?'”McCaskey touched on a wide range of topics, from the history of the franchise and the NFL and her father’s legacy to the current state of the team.Though she was too young to remember it, she was around when the Bears signed Red Grange out of the University of Illinois in 1925 and embarked on a 19-game barnstorming tour that helped legitimize the struggling NFL. She saw the “Monsters of the Midway” re-establish themselves last season, winning the NFC North at 12-4 in fun-loving coach Matt Nagy’s first season. And she has witnessed just about everything in between.She was asked what her favorite game was when the Bears played at Wrigley Field. That would be a 14-10 victory over the New York Giants in the 1963 NFL championship game.The Bears intercepted Y.A. Tittle five times on the way to their sixth and final title with Halas as their coach. Chicago has won it all just one time since then, when the 1985 team shuffled its way to the Super Bowl and the ninth championship in franchise history.“Even though it wasn’t against the Packers, it was the culmination of a championship season and my dad’s final championship,” McCaskey said. “We had beaten the Packers previously in Green Bay and in Wrigley Field that season.”Her favorite Bears player? Walter Payton.McCaskey also talked about the 1985 team, one of the greatest in NFL history. The Bears went 15-1, the lone loss coming on a Monday night at Miami in early December after Chicago outscored Dallas and Atlanta a combined 80-0 the previous two games.“That was a very unusual team and a very unusual season because so much of the normal stress of game days seemed to be disappearing,” she said. “We could go to the game and not be completely knotted up inside. There was so much confidence in everyone. Except for the game at Miami, everything turned out very well.”As for Nagy, McCaskey is a fan.He helped set the tone as the Bears returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season. He won more games than any other rookie coach in franchise history, and he did it with an approach the city and team embraced. He ran trick plays with fun names and turned the locker room into a nightclub — “Club Dub” — after victories.“My dad, George Halas, certainly celebrated every championship,” McCaskey said. “But all through the season, it was very serious work and very concentrated situations. There are pictures of him in the locker room after the various championships and I love them. But our present day coach has made each game and each week a possible celebration. And I think that is a very excellent difference. The season is so much longer, it’s so much harder to get to the final game and win the final game. But we’re hoping for a lot of those ‘Club Dub.'”
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