Vikings defensive end Jared Allen was a sack machine last season, but he also feels under gun himself. Asked Wednesday on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" show whether the NFL favors offensive players and ignores defensive players when it comes to dangerous hits, Allen quickly answered, "Oh, absolutely."
Tony Kornheiser raised the question, following up on the season-ending knee injury to Houston linebacker Brian Cushing and a tweet made by Green Bay's Clay Matthews that the league needs to protect players on both sides of the ball.
"When we talk about overall player safety, I think, you know, from a defensive side of the ball, we definitely feel like it's not necessarily geared towards us," Allen said. "It's more stuff we can't do to them than they can't do to us."
Allen referenced a fine levied against him in November 2008 for a hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub against a hit he took a month later against the Lions. "From my own experiences, I got fined $75,000 or something like that for hitting Schaub for what they said was low and he had the ball trying to get to him a few years back. I get knifed in the knee by a dude in Detroit, and they don't do anything."
Allen also was realistic: "Everybody gets treated fairly, but not everybody gets treated the same." Later he added, talking about NFL officials, "Obviously they got the overall image of the Shield that they're trying to create or make better, so I'm for it."
Allen also talked to Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon about how the league has changed since he started playing, not to mention the team's surprising 4-1 start as well as the focus, preparation and coaching required of the young team.
And he also talked about a desire to beat the Bears in Chicago for the first time: "I want nothing more than to crush the Bears and especially in Chicago. I'm going to do everything I can do. ... When we see them, it's game on."
Here's a link to the "PTI" audio via podcast. Allen comes in about 8:50 into the audio. We'll post video if it becomes available.