A broken bone in his right foot has forced Jared Allen out of the NFC Championship Game, and the Carolina Panthers defensive end isn’t at all pleased about the decision to keep him from playing through the injury.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Friday he is ruling out Allen for Saturday’s clash with the Arizona Cardinals.
“Not happy, plain and simple. I’m ready to rock,” said Allen, who has never played in a Super Bowl. “Coach’s decision, gotta live with it.”
Allen hurt his foot during Carolina’s win over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Round. He practiced on Thursday but Rivera the Panthers didn’t feel comfortable playing him with his injury.
“Broke is broke. That’s all questions for the doc. I just know I do what I do, get ready, coach’s decision,” Allen said. “He made a decision. I’ve got to live with it and support my guys and be the best cheerleader I can be this week.”
The Panthers acquired Allen through a trade with the Chicago Bears in late September. The 33-year-old tallied just two sacks for Carolina over 13 games, but he’s been a starter for the Panthers defense since the move. Second-year defensive end Kony Ealy is expected to start in his place.
It’s a tough break for Allen, who has played in just six playoff games over his 12-year career. This is the closest he’s been to the Super Bowl since 2009, when the Minnesota Vikings lost the New Orleans Saints in overtime of the NFC Championship Game.
However, a win over the Cardinals on Saturday and it’s possible Allen could be ready to play in the Super Bowl.
“I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “So hopefully we can get this one knocked out and be ready for the Super Bowl.”
That would be a best case scenario for Allen. He’ll now have to bank on his teammates to provide him what could be his last great chance to play for the game’s biggest prize.