Dallas Cowboys Legend Dies on Mexican Vacation at 52

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen, 52, died suddenly while on vacation in Mexico with his family, the team announced Monday.

Allen, a Super Bowl winner and Pro Football Hall of Famer, was “arguably one of the greatest players in the history of the Cowboys and perhaps the best offensive linemen in the NFL history,” the team said in a statement.

“[T]o say this is the most painful thing i’ve been through is an understatement,” Allen’s daughter, Loriana, who gave birth to a girl just last month, wrote on Instagram alongside several photos of her with her dad. “[Y]ou always made sure everyone around you was taken care of. the best dad a girl could ask for. i will forever do everything in my power to make you proud.”

The Cowboys said Allen was known “for his great athleticism and incredible strength” and “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,” the team said.

Emmitt Smith (#22) rushes for a five-yard gain as Larry Allen (#73) blocks the Philadelphia Eagles’ Darrin Smith (#56) during a game in 1997.

Allen was drafted in the second round by the Cowboys in 1994 and spent 12 seasons in Texas before joining the San Francisco 49ers for his last two seasons. He was feared among some of the league’s biggest trash talkers for his brute strength, and once bench-pressed 700 pounds in front of his shocked teammates. It was all the more impressive considering Allen nearly died of meningitis when he was just six weeks old, and survived being stabbed in the head and shoulder 12 times while protecting his brother when he was nine.

Former teammate Emmitt Smith choked up and said he was “at a loss for words” after learning of Allen’s shock death.

“[He was] such a good dude, a great player, a super person,” he said in an Instagram video. “It just breaks my heart.”

Allen is survived by his wife, Janelle, daughters Jayla and Loriana, and son Larry III.

In an Instagram post for Allen’s 50th birthday two years ago, Jayla described her father as “my best friend in the whole world” and “the best father we could have ever asked for.”

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