Jared Allen

Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen terrorized the Bears offense, but Chicago fans don't have to worry about that anymore. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune / January 1, 2012)

If Dennis Rodman can become a beloved figure in Chicago, you can learn to love Jared Allen.

Reaction to the Bears signing one of the best pass rushers in the NFL on Wednesday ranged from euphoria to "Oh man, now I have to root for Jared Allen?"

Allen was a thorn in the Bears' side for years as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. In the past five seasons, he's racked up a whopping 15 sacks and four forced fumbles against the Monsters of the Midway, with an interception and a fumble recovery thrown in for good measure. His presence alone was disruptive enough to create opportunities for his teammates on the defensive line.

Trust me, he may have been a pain in the past, but now that he's wearing the orange and blue—well, let's just say that's a good thing.

Players change teams all the time. Contrary to popular belief, pro sports is, in fact, a job wherein teams are businesses, players are employees, and both do what's best for their respective situations, loyalty be damned.

Rodman was once hated in these parts as a member of the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons of the late-'80s, but Bulls fans learned to love him once he helped the Windy City win championships.

Yeah, he may be a jerk, but he's our jerk now.

Going from Julius Peppers to Allen is a tremendous upgrade for a defensive line desperately in need of one. Last year as a team, the Bears had 31 sacks, last in the league. Allen alone had 11.5 for a Vikings team that won only five games.

Allen is a hunter on and off the field. His Twitter avatar is a photo of him wearing camouflage out in the wilderness. He's an avid supporter of U.S. troops. He also once filmed a segment for ESPN running through defensive line drills in jorts. He's got a mullet that will make Patrick Kane jealous.

Not to mention he's really, really good at his job.

Allen may have spent the past five years tormenting your football dreams but now that he's in orange and blue, it's time to embrace the former enemy.

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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