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Thursday’s roundup: Panthers’ Allen retires

Associated Press

Charlotte, N.C. — Panthers defensive end Jared Allen decided to ride off into the sunset — well, sort of.

Allen, a four-time All-Pro who played 12 seasons in the NFL and twice led the league in sacks, announced his retirement Thursday in his own unique way — sitting atop his horse.

A self-described cowboy who was raised on a ranch, Allen thanked everyone in a short video he released on Twitter before smiling and saying, “I was going to ride off into the sunset, but seeing there is no sunset I’m just going to ride off.”

He then turned the horse to the camera and they galloped away into the dark, gray night.

Allen, 33, finished his career with 136 career sacks — ninth in NFL history. He led the league in sacks in 2007 and 2011.

Allen’s retirement did not come as a surprise. He was due to make $8.25 million under the 2016 salary cap and it was highly unlikely the Panthers would have paid him that salary.

Allen played four seasons for the Chiefs before being traded to the Vikings, where he spent the next six years. He played two full seasons with the Bears before joining the Panthers early in the 2015 season in a trade.

“I want to take this time to thank my family, friends, fans, and teammates who have given their continued support,” Allen said in a statement on the team’s website. “It’s been a great ride for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the memories.

Extra points

Jaguars backup quarterback Chad Henne (Michigan) signed a two-year extension.

... The Browns terminated the contracts of defensive lineman Randy Starks and tight end Jim Dray.

Sharper case

A federal judge rejected a plea deal in the rape case against former NFL star Darren Sharper, saying the nine-year sentence doesn’t reflect the seriousness of the alleged assaults against as many as 16 women.

“This court cannot accept this plea agreement,” U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo told Sharper as he stood before her in orange prison coveralls and shackles.

She gave Sharper and his lawyers until March 3 to decide whether to withdraw a guilty plea he entered last year.