CHARLOTTE — Defensive end Jared Allen has never played in the Super Bowl in his 12-year career, and he’ll have to rely on his Carolina Panthers teammates to get there this year after a decision he vehemently disagreed with.
Coach Ron Rivera ruled Allen out of Sunday’s NFC Championship with a broken right foot he suffered against the Seattle Seahawks last week, an injury Allen practiced with Thursday and wanted to play through.
“Not happy,” Allen said. “Plain and simple. I’m ready to rock. So, coach’s decision. Gotta live with it.”
Allen said he would not have been compromised by the pain in his foot and that he would not have risked further injuring the foot. “Broke is broke,” Allen said.
Rivera took the decision out of Allen’s hands. He worried about the potential of Allen aggravating the injury and being left with only three viable defensive ends. He also wanted to ensure Allen’s availability for the Super Bowl in the event the Panthers beat the Cardinals on Sunday.
“He’s very disappointed,” Rivera said. “He took it very hard. But we got to look at this going forward, what’s best for us as far as the team is concerned Sunday night. And there’s the possibility that he gets an extra week of rest.
“The thing I have to look at is the realism of it, the type of injury it is. Again, there’s a tremendous amount of desire. Let’s be honest. That’s who the young man is. I’m not going to say this is one of those ones where you have to save him from himself. But to a degree, I think there is a little bit of truth in that. He’s such a competitor. He’s such a warrior. I didn’t do this lightly. I really thought about it from the time I found out about the injury. I tried to weigh all the information I got.”
Allen recorded two sacks in 12 games for the Panthers after arriving in an early-season trade from Chicago. Kony Ealy will replace him in the starting lineup, and Ryan Delaire, a rookie from Towson, will serve as his backup.
If the Panthers win, Allen, 36, will play in his first Super Bowl. Allen has reached a championship game only once during his a career in which he’s recorded 136 sacks, tied for ninth all time. when his Minnesota Vikings lost a wrenching overtime game to the New Orleans Saints in 2010.
“I have trust and faith in the guys that we can get this one won and we will get to play in the ultimate show,” Allen said.