Veteran Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen has two weeks to prove to coach Ron Rivera he can play after missing the NFC championship game with a broken foot.
Allen injured his foot in the NFC divisional round victory over the Seattle Seahawks, and Rivera didn’t feel comfortable playing Allen on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. With two weeks to get healthy before facing Denver, Allen could play in his first Super Bowl after 12 years in the league.
“I’m excited for the fact that he’s got two weeks to get ready ... and prove to me that he’s ready to roll, which I believe he will, knowing him,” Rivera said. “That’s just who he is.”
On Monday, Rivera admitted Allen may have been able to play, but there were other factors in the decision. Allen could have been active, but aggravating the injury further would have put him out of the game and left Carolina with just three defensive ends.
So Rivera decided to play Ryan Delaire, who recorded one tackle in limited action.
Allen didn’t hide his displeasure with Rivera’s decision on Friday, but he said he respected the coach’s decision and understood where he was coming from.
Rivera compared the decision to the one he made at the start of the 2014 season when he sat Cam Newton for the season-opener against Tampa Bay when the quarterback cracked his ribs two weeks earlier.
“It was a difficult decision, but I did what I thought was right for us,” Rivera said. “And hopefully as we started preparing for Denver these next two weeks, he can show me that he’s ready to roll.”
Players from all three Idaho state universities are likely to play in Super Bowl 50, which is believed to be a first in the game’s history:
- Boise State: Denver C Matt Paradis (No. 61, Council High)
- Idaho: Denver FS Shiloh Keo (No. 33)
- Idaho State: Carolina DE Jared Allen (No. 69)
Boise State also has a player on injured reserve, Denver LT Ryan Clady.