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NFL Pro Bowlers to face Olympic champions at curling event

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Retired NFL Pro Bowlers Jared Allen and Marc Bulger are one half of a team entered in a World Curling Tour event in Minnesota this weekend.

Their first opponents on Friday? A team of PyeongChang Olympic champions John ShusterMatt Hamilton and John Landsteiner, plus 2010 Olympian Chris Plys.

The event will stream here, according to Allen’s social media.

Allen was first linked to serious curling in February via U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Lou Nanne on a Minnesota ESPN radio show. Nanne said Allen told him at a dinner.

“[Allen} says, I’m giving myself four years to make the Olympic curling team,” said Nanne, a 1968 U.S. Olympian.

Allen and Bulger are on a team with 2010 Olympian John Benton and fellow veteran curler Hunter Clawson.

Allen, 36, retired in 2016 after a 12-year NFL career as a defensive end that included five Pro Bowls. Bulger, 41, retired in 2011 after a 10-year career, making two Pro Bowls with the Rams.

Another Pro Bowler has a prominent curling connection. Tight end Vernon Davis attended the last three Winter Games as USA Curling’s honorary team captain.

Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker is the only athlete with NFL regular-season experience to compete in the Winter Olympics. He finished seventh in two-man bobsled at Albertville 1992.

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MORE: Team Shuster tabletop curling game to hit stores

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Minnesota Vikings’ curling TD celebration in NFC title game (video)

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Curling was the highlight of the NFC Championship Game for the Minnesota Vikings.

Kyle Rudolph caught a 25-yard touchdown on their opening drive against the Philadelphia Eagles, then launched into a four-man celebration warming up for the Winter Olympics.

Rudolph rolled the football in the end zone like a curling stone, while Latavius Murray and Stefon Diggs mimicked sweepers (just without the brooms). Adam Thielen rounded out the four-man rink.

The Vikings had no other scores to celebrate. They lost 38-7, upsetting the seven out of 10 curlers on the Olympic team who hail from Minnesota.

Earlier in the last two seasons, football players celebrated touchdowns with the hurdles, the long jumpbobsled, a relay and a race walk.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Winter Olympics

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Adrian Peterson won’t try for Olympics, but other RBs might

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Adrian Peterson will not retire from the NFL to pursue track sprinting and the Olympics, according to ProFootballTalk, which reports he plans to play football in 2015.

The news came after Peterson was quoted by ESPN.com last week saying he considered returning to sprinting. The 29-year-old was a high school track and field standout.

“I’ve thought about going after the Olympics — you only live once,” Peterson said, according to the ESPN report. “I’ve seriously thought about this real hard. I continue to pray about it, but it’s been something that has been heavy, heavy on my heart.”

Peterson said he was interested in competing in the 200m and 400m, according to ESPN.

In high school, Peterson’s personal-best times were 10.19 seconds in the 100m and 47.6 in the 400m, according to Sports Illustrated. He also had a 200m personal best of 21.23, according to ESPN.

Those times were from more than 10 years ago.

The times that made the U.S. Olympic team at the 2012 trials finals were 9.93 in the 100m (10.27 to make the relay), 20.16 (wind-aided) in the 200m and 44.8 in the 400m (45.24 to make the relay).

Former New York Giants running back David Wilson has said he is trying to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in the triple jump.

Retired four-time Pro Bowl running back Ahman Green will take part in a USA Rugby recruitment camp in January. Rugby is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1924 in 2016, though the U.S. faces a tough road to qualify.

Current U.S. rugby player Carlin Isles spent a month on the Detroit Lions practice squad as a wide receiver last winter.

Forty NFL players have competed in a Summer Olympics — 33 in track and field, six in wrestling and one in handball — according to sports-reference.com.

The most successful NFL players in the Olympics were Cowboys receiver Bob Hayes, who won a Super Bowl title and Olympic gold medals in the 100m and 4x100m relay in 1964, and Jim Thorpe.

Thorpe, born in 1887, won the Olympic decathlon and pentathlon in 1912 and began playing in the NFL in 1920.

The only NFL regular-season player to compete in a Winter Olympics was Herschel Walker. The Heisman Trophy winner finished seventh in two-man bobsled in 1992.

Johnny Quinn, a former NFL preseason wide receiver, made the 2014 U.S. Olympic bobsled team.

2016 Olympic track and field schedule released