Retired NFL star Jared Allen formed a curling team with other former players. They're aiming for the 2022 Winter Olympics

    Former NFL star defensive end Jared Allen and three other former NFL players who have never curled before will attempt to qualify for the US championships against curlers who have been throwing stones for most of their lives.

    (CNN)Jared Allen spent 12 years in the NFL terrorizing quarterbacks with 136 career sacks, 11th all-time in league history. A four-time All Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, Allen is likely a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate when he becomes eligible in 2021.

    But he has some major plans for 2022.
    Allen has Olympic aspirations in curling. His teammates are three former NFL players in quarterback Marc Bulger, linebacker Keith Bulluck and offensive tackle Michael Roos. And while they've only been curling since March, this isn't a joke.
      The group, dubbed the All-Pro Curling Team, is serious about representing the US at the Beijing Games. This week they're competing at the USA Curling Men's Challenge in Blaine, Minnesota, vying to reach the national championships.
      Allen, right, practices with his curling team for a competition as coach and former Olympian John Benton watches in Blaine, Minnesota.
      "The entire (curling) community -- every team we play -- has been very, very welcoming," Allen said in an interview Thursday with CNN's Patrick Snell. "They realize we're laughing, we're joking ... but we're not doing this in a disrespectful manner.
      "We come out, and we're not slouching. We're not over there falling down on the ice, chipping our teeth, don't know how to do things. We have technique. We know how to make shots.
      "We are progressing in a manner that people -- the comment we get is, 'How long have you been doing this? You've been doing this for how long?' and then they're shocked at where we're at in such a short time that we've been doing it. So we've got to build on that."

      A bet to become an Olympian

      It all started with a wager, when Allen bet a friend saying he could become an Olympian.
      "I figured badminton was going to be strenuous on the old back," the 36-year-old Allen said. "Then I started reading through curling, what it entailed, and the camaraderie and the fact you have a pint with the guys after y