Warpaint Illustrated: You've stated many times that you love Kansas City and want to retire a Chief. Do you still feel that way?
Jared Allen: A year ago there was no doubt in my mind that was the most important thing to me. Now, I love the community, I love my coaching staff, but that's about as far as it goes right now.
I don't want to say it's not personal and it's not about money, but the reality is there is a business side. Day in and day out I come to work and I give it all. I give everything I've got to this organization. What happened with me, I felt like I got burnt. I was led to believe one thing, in my mind, and something else happened.
It's one of those things where, you know what, just all I ask is not to be lied to. You can tell me this is what you're going to do, and if you do it I'm not going to be mad. It was like if your parents tell you you're going to get a bike for Christmas, and you get a remote control car or a hot wheel. All I wanted was a red bike, why would you tell me I was getting a bike if you got me a hot wheel? That's kind of what it was. It was just like a let down. Here's an organization that I go all out for, and I felt like an idiot.
I've always honored my contract. I've played out every contract I've ever had here and never missed anything I was under contract to be in. It's going to be a tough decision, whatever happens. Most likely they'll franchise me and I'll end up being here, but I expect that now. Going through that experience, that's what I expect, so I'm not going to be throwing a fit.
I want to retire a Kansas City Chief. It could have been easily done, and it can still be easily done, but it hasn't been done. I've put four years of blood, sweat, and tears in on the practice field and in the community. I don't want to walk away with nothing from that. I'd like to stay and accomplish something with that, but I feel bad for guys like Tony (Gonzalez). Tony has played at an elite level throughout his career, the best ever, in my opinion, and he doesn't have a championship. I'm a piece of the puzzle that can help him accomplish that goal, and he can help me accomplish that goal.
That's the part of the NFL I hate. I have to make that selfish decision at one point if I have the opportunity to go to a team that can win a Super Bowl. I can be a part of that puzzle, but now I'm taking away from a friend of mine, a guy who I've been through the ups and downs with.
WPI: I've had several conversations with Herm Edwards, and he's clearly in your corner. How has your relationship with him helped you deal with your off-the-field issues?
Allen: Herm's the reason I came back. Herm came to my charity event in May and we had a conversation and he's the only reason I came back to the OTAs and mini-camp. The coaching staff is the reason I came back.
No matter what my feelings are with management, I'm going to do whatever I have to do to help us win a championship.
That's the relationship I have with Herm. I don't think Herm would lie to me, I don't think Gunther would lie to me.
WPI: What would you miss if you left Kansas City?
Allen: My friends. My best friend, my brother lives here, and hopefully I can drag him wherever I go. I've got a core of people here that mean the world to me.
WPI: Do you feel you'll be a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008?
Allen: It's probably like 90/10 because of that damn franchise tag. Either way it goes it's been a great four years here, it really has. If I'm a Chief, I look forward to playing at Arrowhead, it's one of the greatest stadiums to play in. My coaching staff is awesome. Defensively, we have one of the greatest coaching staffs I could ever ask for. Tim Krumrie, I love that guy. Herm doesn't treat everybody the same, but he treats everybody fair. Nobody on that side has burned any bridges, so I will do whatever it takes to play for those guys and I'll give it all for them. It's been fun, so hopefully it can continue.
WPI: How frustrating is it for you to have to come to terms with the business side of the NFL – especially when you consider the incredible year you had on the field?
Allen: From a sheer business side and football side, I've got to do what's right for myself and my family down the road. Football players aren't living all that long these days so I've got to at least enjoy my life. I've got to make sure I do the right thing for the person that comes behind me.
If I take a crappy deal, if I go ahead and say ‘I'm going to play for this and this and this,' and I have these top end numbers? Now all of a sudden the next guy that comes up, I'm giving the league, which takes so much from us – let's face it, the players are the bottom of the barrel in the NFL. We don't get tickets, we've got to buy our own stuff and I could go on and on with the complaints. But if I do that, then I'm letting the league and the owners and stuff steal more back from us, and that's part of the reason you have to get what you deserve.
You've got to get fair market value. I'm not trying to be unfair, we just want fair market value. The cap keeps going up, so everything should go up. That's the one thing I think of, is the players coming behind me. If a guy coming behind me has my numbers or better than my numbers, he deserves to be compensated for that. You never know when that last snap is. You never know when you're going to have to go out and become part of the real world. We give so much of our own self, that's what people don't realize. The physical demands on our body, we are giving ourselves up.
The average life expectancy of an NFL player is, I believe, 53, or something like that. Hell, we don't even get our 401K until we're 55. So we're screwed off the bat, let alone medical insurance after we get done playing.
I have to make sure the guy behind me, I'm setting a precedent for him, and I'm not screwing somebody down the road. I have to value what I'm worth and what I've given to the game.
Click here to read the first part of our exclusive chat with Jared Allen
One on One: Jared Allen Part II
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