Jared Allen diary: We have all grown
Every week, one NFL Europe player will contribute a diary for NFL.com about how the season has gone so far and the upcoming matchup. And as NFL Europe has reached the end of the regular season with World Bowl XIV coming up, Amsterdam quarterback Jared Allen shares his thoughts on becoming the starting quarterback just three weeks ago and how the team chemistry remains strong.
DÃƒÅ“SSELDORF, Germany (May 25, 2006) -- Greetings from DÃƒÂ¼sseldorf, Germany! This is Jared Allen from the Amsterdam Admirals giving everyone an insight into my experience in NFL Europe. Well, I started my NFL Europe experience on the right note. I left training camp after a week to fly home to Oklahoma for my wedding. The whole experience of flying back and forth was crazy and yet very exciting. My wife, Brynn, and I have enjoyed our first three months of marriage in Europe.
When the Buccaneers told me that I was being allocated to Europe I was very thrilled at the opportunity to improve as a quarterback. As for any position, this league is great for getting players the much needed reps, and for a quarterback it is essential. This year has been an awesome experience in so many different ways. Our team is filled with great people all around. I have made life long friendships with teammates and met some amazing fans that I might never see again. Speaking of our fans, they are unbelievably loyal and supportive and without a doubt we have the best fans in the league!
Being under a great person and player such as Gibran Hamdan, he has taught me a great deal about how to approach the game of football. Yes, we are here because we want to further our careers and make a team back home, however, having fun and cherishing the relationships is just as important. You never know if the next play will be your last or if you will make a team when you go back to the states, so cherish what you have and the opportunities you are given.
Speaking of Gibran, his injury thrust our team into a new direction. We had the best offense and Gibran, offensive MVP, was playing great. At the time I was playing the second quarter every other week. Reggie Robertson and I would rotate weekly. Any time a team loses a quarterback it is a tough transition. There is a chemistry that a starter has with his offense that is hard to explain. For me, my job was to continue and create a new chemistry with offense. It can take a few games, which it has, since I became the starter vs. Cologne in Week 8. We have been improving with each game and our confidence is growing as an offensive unit. Our coaches and players handled the situation with Gibran well, and they stood behind me as I grew each week.
This week has been a very eventful week. There have been team activities and dinners, which make it none other than a championship week! We had dinner in downtown DÃƒÂ¼sseldorf at the city hall with the Frankfurt team on Tuesday night. Next we have another dinner and a bowling event. The competition starts before Saturday, only it's bowling and not football, and there is prize money to be won. Throughout the activities our team has remained focused on the game and we are ready to play. I think the coaches have done a great job of preparing us for the game this week.
The opportunity to play football in Europe has been well worth it. I have learned so much on and off the field and have made friendships that will last long after this season is finished. My wife also enjoyed her time in Holland and is grateful we spent the first three months of our marriage in Europe.