Larry Allen, Dominant N.F.L. Lineman, Dies at 52

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Even on the star-studded Dallas Cowboys roster of the 1990s, he stood out with his head-turning strength and bone-rattling pancake blocks.

Larry Allen, a road grader of a guard and tackle for the Dallas Cowboys who, leveraging seemingly superhuman strength, cleared a path to a Super Bowl victory in 1996 and tallied 11 Pro Bowl selections, earning consideration as one of the greatest offensive linemen in National Football League history, died on Sunday in Mexico. He was 52.

His death, which occurred while he was on vacation with his family, was announced by the Cowboys, his team for the first 12 years of his 14-year career. The team did not cite a cause or say where in Mexico he died.

As the most dominant player on one of football’s most dominant offensive lines, Allen was a key addition to the dynastic 1990s Cowboys teams that were studded with Hall of Famers like Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Emmitt Smith, who routinely blew through holes created by Allen on his way to becoming the league’s all-time rushing leader.

Drafted as a guard, Allen played every position on the offensive line except center. A seven-time All-Pro, he was a first-ballot inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and was named to the league’s all-decade teams for both the 1990s and the 2000s.

Working in the trenches, Allen did not stand out to casual fans in the same way his touchdown-scoring All-Pro teammates did. But those teammates keenly understood his value. “I always hear people say Larry was the best offensive lineman in the game, and that’s just not right,” Irvin once said. “Larry was the best player in the league, and it wasn’t even close.”

Allen at the Cowboys’ training camp in 2005. As the most dominant player on one of football’s most dominant offensive lines, he was a key addition to the dynastic Dallas teams of the 1990s.Irwin Thompson/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

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