Larry Allen, former Dallas Cowboys great and Pro Football Hall of Famer, dies at 52

Larry Allen, former Dallas Cowboys great and Pro Football Hall of Famer, dies at 52

The NFL has lost a legend.

The Dallas Cowboys on Monday announced the death of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Larry Allen. He was 52.

“The Dallas Cowboys are very saddened to share that Cowboys legend, Super Bowl Champion, Cowboys Ring of Honor member and Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Allen passed away suddenly while on vacation in Mexico with his family on Sunday,” the team revealed in a press release.

“Larry, known for his great athleticism and incredible strength, was one of the most respected, accomplished offensive linemen to ever play in the NFL. His versatility and dependability were also signature parts of his career. Through that, he continued to serve as inspiration for many other players, defining what it meant to be a great teammate, competitor and winner. 

“He was deeply loved and cared for by his wife, Janelle – whom he referred to as his heart and soul – his daughters Jayla and Lariana and son, Larry III. 

“The Jones family and the Cowboys extend their deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Allen family and grieve along with the many other friends and Cowboys teammates that also loved Larry.”

Allen played 14 years in the NFL, 12 with Dallas and his final two for the San Francisco 49ers. A second-round pick out of Sonoma State (California) in 1994, he became a fixture at guard and was a starter for the Super Bowl 30 champions during the 1995 season, the Cowboys’ most recent title run.

An 11-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro, Allen was named to the NFL’s All-Decade teams in both the 1990s and 2000s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013, his first year of eligibility, and was voted to the league’s all-century team as part of the NFL’s celebration of its 100th season in 2019.

Known for otherworldly strength, Allen could bench press 700 pounds – which understandably made him one of the most intimidating players to ever grace the gridiron. Yet the 6-3, 335-pounder was exceptionally light on his feet, making him a devastating blocker on sweeps and pulls – and a guy who might even run down a defender after an interception.

Though he spent the bulk of his career at guard, Allen was versatile enough to man left tackle at an elite level when asked. On a team known for superstars like quarterback Troy Aikman, tailback Emmitt Smith, wideout Michael Irvin and cornerback Deion Sanders, Allen had a legitimate case as the Cowboys’ best player during his prime years.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Smith said on Instagram. “Such a good dude. Great player. Super person. … It just breaks my heart.

“The one thing about Larry Allen I know: He had a big heart. And he lived life to the fullest. A man of very few words but on the football field was a beast.”

Details of Allen’s memorial service will be revealed later.

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Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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