LAKE FOREST – Just a few blocks away is where he works his day job. Yet this place is the complete opposite of his office.
It’s cloudy and overcast with rain just a few minutes away, but everything’s sunny for Jared Allen at Conway Farms in late June. He’s hitting a few practice shots on the range before heading out for the Robbie Gould Charity Golf Outing.
Mandatory mini-camp has come to an end and this is a bit of a vacation before training camp is scheduled to being a little over a month from now.
“I do like golfing, yeah, absolutely,” said the Bears outside linebacker. “I don’t get to golf as much as I like to with the kiddos now. But it’s a sport I do enjoy playing and to get out and golf for a good cause also makes it fun.”
But while this may be far mentally from his day job (even if by proximity it’s not) his mind is never terribly far from the Bears. Like his golf game he has a lot of positive things to say-especially with a new regime taking over at Halas Hall over the past few months.
Allen spoke highly of the team’s new coaching staff led by head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. They’re part of a total replace that came after a dismal 5-11 season under Marc Trestman which led to his and the rest of the staff’s ouster following the final game of the year.
Even after just a handful of practices, Allen was sold on the philosophy of the new staff.
“It’s phenomenal,” said Allen of the regime change. “I heard a word the other day and it stuck with me and that’s authentic. When you walk in the building it’s a building about football and about winning football games.”
When he was signed last season to a four-year contract was the hope that Allen would help the Bears make that happen. In his first season in Chicago he played one less game than he did the year before with the Vikings but his sacks dropped from 11.5 to 5.5-the lowest total of his professional career.
A new twist will come for Allen this year as he moves to outside linebacker in Fangio's 3-4 defense which may boost his numbers for the upcoming season. While that is still to be determined Allen was immediately sold on the attitude of the new staff which according to the 33-year old defender is a welcome change.
"There's no drama, there's no outside noise," said Allen. "We here. They're going to provide us and environment to be the best that we can be that day and try to get better.
"As cliché as that sound, that's all you want as a professional. Then the camaraderie and all that stuff comes together and when you have that you grow leaps and bounds and that's when we can win football games and have a good time doing it."
Just like a nice morning away from his day job on the golf course.