Former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is officially hanging up his cleats … but he's not hanging up his cowboy boots just yet.
Allen took to Twitter Thursday to announce his retirement from the NFL in an appropriate manner for the fan-favorite: on horseback against the backdrop of snow and a cloud-smothered sky.
"Well everyone, I just want to say thank you for an amazing 12-year career," Allen said in the video. "This was the part where I was supposed to ride into the sunset, but since there's no sunset – I'm just going to ride off."
The announcement could not have been more Allen, complete with a cowboy hat and signature flowing mullet.
In addition to the Twitter post, Allen released the following statement through his agent:
"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. 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."
Allen played for the Vikings from 2008-2013, recording 85.5 sacks during that time. Allen never missed a game during his time in Minnesota, and he helped the Vikings reach the playoffs in 2009 and 2012.
"I want to sincerely thank all the Vikings fans and everyone who helped make my six years in Minnesota so special," Allen said. "I loved being a Minnesota Viking, and I will cherish those memories forever."
Look back on some of Jared Allen's best moments as a Viking. He has been selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Over his six seasons with the Vikings, Allen tallied 327 tackles, 16 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and four interceptions, and made an immediate impact in leading the Vikings to the NFC North Division Championship in 2008, his first year in purple. On Oct. 12, 2009, Allen returned a fumble 52 yards for the first touchdown of his career.
Of Allen's five career Pro Bowl appearances, four were as a Viking (2008-2012).
He was also named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings at a ceremony near the end of the 2010 season.
Allen led the league in sacks in 2007 and 2011, and on Jan. 1, 2012, he set the single-season franchise record for most sacks by a Viking with 22. In Week 17 of the 2011 season, Allen sacked Bears quarterback Josh McCown 3.5 times and fell one-half sack short of tying the NFL record held by former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.
Following that season, Allen was listed 13th on NFL's Top 100 Players of 2012.
Prior to joining the Vikings, Allen played four years for the Chiefs, who selected Allen 126th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. The Chiefs traded Allen to the Vikings in 2008 for a first-round draft pick and two third-round picks.
After his tenure in Minnesota, Allen played for the Bears in 2014. He started the 2015 season with Chicago before being traded to Carolina on Sept. 28, 2015. Allen helped the Panthers en route to the postseason and played in his first career Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
Allen's first sack as a Viking came against Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, which seems fitting as he played his last NFL game against Manning and the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Allen retires with 136 career sacks, which places him ninth on the all-time sack list.
The defensive end's unique retirement announcement drew immediate reaction from fans, media and players alike, including Sports Illustrated's Peter King, NBC sportscaster Cris Collinsworth and Vikings linebacker (and former teammate of Allen's) Chad Greenway.