It all began with a bit of subterfuge on the Bears’ part and ended with them adding a potential Hall of Fame pass rusher as the latest piece of a dramatic, aggressive Bears offseason.
Here’s how it unfolded: The Bears were interested in Jared Allen, but secrecy is frequently a huge factor, ensuring your competitors don’t know your intentions. So it was last week at the NFL owners’ meetings in Orlando, when Bears GM Phil Emery was about to meet with Jared Allen agent Ken Harris in front of the meetings’ hotel in Orlando.
Just as they were about to meet, Emery spotted a prominent national reporter walking their direction. Rather than risk a report that the Bears were meeting with Jared Allen’s representative, Emery used the old potted-palm ploy:
“We knew to have it remain silent,” Emery said. “We couldn’t have anybody see us meet or shake hands, so we met at night away from the hotel. But Ken had come to meet us and we were standing out facing the parking lot and [the reporter] walked to [Bears contract negotiator] Cliff Stein and shook his hand.”
The reporter’s back was to Allen’s agent, so “I grabbed Ken [Harris]. I pulled him around and put him behind a post. And then [the reporter] walked off… . “No one saw Ken and we did that off campus.”
The result was a multi-year deal that puts in place the No. 1 right defensive end for the Bears, a fixture who has started 16 games in all of his six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
“They sniped me,” Allen said, laughing. “The whole way it happened was just so cool. I appreciate how hard and how diligent everybody worked on the contract. I know both sides pushed through some issues and gave a little. That's what I was really looking for ultimately was, they got creative on things to make it work -- both sides.
“And to come into an organization that's willing to work, that's willing to trust that we're going to do what we say we're going to do and they're going to do what they say they're going to do and everything works out in the end, I mean, there's no better way to start off the relationship. So it was cool how they laid low and got it done at the end.”