Veteran defensive end Jared Allen has a knack for remembering almost every one of his 136 career sacks.
Of course he remembers his one and only sack of Peyton Manning.
“2008,” Allen said immediately. “2008 I got him in Minnesota.”
Naturally he was right. Allen sacked Manning when the five-time NFL MVP was with the Colts. Now he wants another one.
Allen’s broken foot kept him out of last week’s 49-15 victory over the Cardinals, but he expects to play on Feb. 7 in Super Bowl 50 against the Broncos.
“I honestly don’t feel it at all,” Allen said. “It’s easier to run than it is to walk. I don’t feel it. I just go out there and play. It’s great. No limitations. Now I’m focused on a normal week.”
Allen broke a small bone in his foot during Carolina’s divisional round victory against Seattle. He was limited in practice the following week, and Rivera ultimately ruled Allen out last Friday.
This week Rivera admitted Allen could have played if he had to but the coach didn’t want to risk it. Allen expressed his displeasure with the decision but said he understood where Rivera was coming from.
Rivera could have waited to make Allen a game-time decision but instead listed him as out to help players such as Ryan Delaire better prepare.
“I wanted the young guys that were going to play to not look over their shoulder and prepare,” Rivera said Wednesday. “Once Jared understood my message, he was fine with it. Here’s a guy who knew that, and then he became the biggest cheerleader on the sideline.”
Allen said he’s focusing this week on getting back into the flow of things. It’s unclear whether he’ll start opposite Charles Johnson at defensive end, but it’s likely that he’ll see plenty of reps in the game.
“I’m preparing as if it’s standard procedure as usual,” Allen said. “My foot feels great. Thank God for that and a great training staff. Just keep going as I am, keep treating, keep working and preparing and get ready for this game.”
Allen’s memory of each sack is uncanny. He even recalled playing against Manning in his first career start, a 45-35 victory over the Colts on Halloween 2004.
Allen didn’t get a sack, but he dressed up as swimmer Michael Phelps for the holiday before he left the locker room, he recalled.
Next week would be Allen’s fourth game against Manning and first since his 2008 sack. There would be no better time than to get his second (or third, or fourth) against Manning than in the Super Bowl.
He’s waited 12 years and been on three teams to get to this point, and he’s not going to miss it.
“I took Monday and (Tuesday) and let it sink in,” Allen said, “and let all the emotional stuff go and now taking care of all the need-be business. Just business as usual.”