Jared Allen

Jared Allen always dreamed of riding off into the sunset. While defensive end couldn't win a Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers, he still gets his dream of leaving on his own terms.

Only problem: There wasn't a sunset to speak of on the day of his retirement announcement. Instead, Allen had to settle on a horse, some chilly air, and a sincere thanks as he bid the NFL goodbye after 12 seasons.

Allen also released a longer statement, which NFL.com published the same day.

"I want to take this time to thank my family, friends fans, and teammates who have given their continued support throughout my 12 year career," Allen writes, per NFL.com "It's been a great ride for me, and I couldn't be more grateful for the memories. It is with a great deal of thought and consideration, that I have decided that I will not return to football next year.

"I want to thank the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs organizations, who provided me with an opportunity to live out my dream and to be a part of their wonderful communities. Thanks for the life long memories."

At least one of Allen's former teammates was thrilled with his style in announcing his retirement:

Allen was the NFL's active sack leader at the time of his retirement with 136. One of the best defensive ends of his generation, Allen played for great teams in Kansas City, Minnesota and Carolina. Only with the Panthers, in his final season, did Allen reach the Super Bowl.

He managed to play in this year's game despite a broken foot, but it wasn't enough to lead Carolina over the Broncos. Even so, we'll see Allen again at his Hall of Fame induction.

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