By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Currently in the last year of his contract, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen would not completely rule out joining the Detroit Lions in the future.
“You know Detroit is getting better, I tell you what,” Allen said. “It would be hard to go to any team in the NFC North, having to come back and play the Vikings when I’ve been here so long, but I never say never to anything. I always leave the doors open.”
It’s a far cry from his attitude in 2011 when he said he would “drown himself” if he had to live in “gloomy” and “depressing” Detroit. He also described New Orleans at the time as a third world country and said he felt like he needed a flak jacket when he got off the plane.
He’s apparently changed his tune. An upside to joining the team would be a reunion with Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. Allen played under Cunningham with the Kansas City Chiefs, where Allen spent the first four years of his career and where Cunningham was defensive coordinator.
“I would be curious to see how he runs his meetings these days,” Allen said with a hearty laugh. “I love Gun. Me and him butted heads, but we had such a great relationship. I’m curious to see if he still thinks he’s as tough as he thinks he is.
“He was an ornery son of a gun, I tell you what,” Allen continued with more laughter. “For me, being a meathead, he might be the biggest meathead of all people. We found out he was a kicker back in Oregon, and were like, ‘You can’t be tough!’ so he had to overdo it on toughness.”
In all seriousness, though, Allen, a five-time Pro Bowler, gave Cunningham considerable credit for influencing Allen early in his career, which is entering its 10th season.
“He was awesome,” Allen said. “He really challenged you to be the best you could possibly be. He pushed you physically and mentally to be the best within that system and to be the best he thought you could be. He never let you settle for mediocrity, and I really appreciate that about him, and as a young player that really instilled that drive to be great.”