Defensive end Jared Allen, who played for the Minnesota Vikings from 2008-13, announced his retirement from football on Twitter in unique fashion -- from atop a 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.

A four-time All-Pro, Allen played 12 seasons in the NFL and finished with 136 career sacks -- ninth-most in NFL history. He led the league in sacks in 2007 and 2011.

"I want to take this time to thank my family, friends, fans, and teammates who have given their continued support throughout my 12-year career," 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. It is with a great deal of thought and consideration that I have decided that I will not return to football next year.

"I want to thank the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs organizations, who provided me with an opportunity to live out my dream and to be a part of their wonderful communities. Thanks for the lifelong memories."

Allen was a fourth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004 and was traded to Minnesota (along with a sixth-round draft pick) on April 23, 2008 for a first-round draft choice, two third-rounders (one of which the Chiefs used to select Jamaal Charles) and a sixth-rounder.

With Minnesota, Allen never missed a game in his six seasons, recording 245 tackles, 85.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. With the Vikings he was named a first-team All-Pro in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and was a Pro Bowl selection four times. He never had less than 11 sacks in any season in Minnesota and had a career-high 22 sacks in 2011.

Allen signed with Chicago for the 2014 season and was dealt to Carolina this past September for a sixth-round draft pick.

His retirement will save the Panthers $8.25 million under the 2016 salary cap.

The Associated Press contributed to this report