There was talk at one point that many of the top prospects in last week's NFL draft might not attend the event as a way to show support for the players that are currently locked out. As it turns out, that type of protest did not happen and while some prospects turned down an invitation, many elected to go to New York.
Count Vikings defensive end Jared Allen among those who thought it was too bad that happened.
“I honestly think it would’ve been cool to see none or all of the players elect to not show up," Allen said during a radio interview with KTAR in Phoenix (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "I think that would’ve given a really big sign to the NFL. You want us to appease you guys by coming to this show -- because that’s what the NFL Draft is on TV, it’s a show for their fans and a show for the league -- you want us to do that than let’s get this deal done, let’s quit locking us out, and let’s get back to work."
Allen might have a few words for the incoming rookies whenever the NFL does get back to work. He clearly wasn't happy with what he saw while watching the first round.
"I think the bigger disappointment was to see the jewelry on these kids’ arms and ears," he said. "Are you kidding me? You haven’t played a down in the league yet and thousands and thousands of dollars on these kids arms and I’m like you guys understand you’re getting drafted into a lockout where you don’t know what rules you’re playing under or how much money you possibly might get.”
As for the Vikings' decision to take quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th-overall pick, Allen isn't going to pass judgment at this point.
“I don’t know, the brief contact I was able to have with Coach [Leslie] Frazier for the whole 24 hours when the lockout was lifted, I trust them to do the right thing personnel wise," he said. "Whether they believe this kid can do it that’s yet to be seen and we will have to see how the season plays out. I try not to judge people until I see them on the field. I came in as a fourth-round pick, people thought I was going to be a long snapper, and I was able to prove them wrong.
"I don’t try to make judgments until I see them play but that’s a lot of pressure to put on a rookie quarterback, especially in our division with the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit, they’re no slouches these days either. It’s a tough thing and I will be curious to see what happens in free agency. First of all we have to get through this stuff. If the owners could quit locking us out… Every time we win to get football back it seems like there is another roadblock put in front of us to say we don’t want to play.
"All of our fans, us as players, we’re trying to play football. I know people are getting [ticked] off saying that it’s just millionaires and billionaires arguing over money but there are some other issues to be discussed as far as long-term life stuff. The bottom line is the players want to play football and that’s the only way that we’re going to find out whether or not these players are worth a damn.”
Allen, meanwhile, continues to prepare for the upcoming season and hopes that work stoppage comes to an end.
“I don’t think about it. I just prepare as normal," he said. "Basically as if we have a season coming and if we don’t then I will have one heck of a body when I’m laying by the pool with my wife.”