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Remembering Larry Allen

Celebrating Father's Day through Larry's daddy side


On this Father's Day 2024, give your father a hug. Not just a card. Or a perfunctory tie. A hug if you can. A tight one.

There are so many of us out here who wish we could still hug ours. As our family tradition, my sister, who leaves Dominick's cane by the front door in memory of always being ready to go, will tap the cane he would use once losing his eyesight.

There is another family out there recently wishing they could hug their father, too, that of Larry Allen, the Cowboys Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman who passed away on June 3 at the age of 52. This will be their first Father's Day without him.

73 views from the amazing life and playing career of the Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys Guard Larry Allen.

William A. Boykins

Digital Media Producer / Webmaster

And there is something they all would like everyone to know, and this might surprise most about this 6-3, 335-pound brute of an offensive guard. One who played 14 seasons at the highest of high levels in the NFL, 12 of those for the Dallas Cowboys, having terrorized defensive players and once having bench pressed 700 pounds. One who said in his Aug. 3, 2013, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech in Canton, Ohio, that his goal playing every one of his 203 professional games was to make his opponent "submit."

His immediate family of four he has left behind – wife Janelle, daughters Jayla and Loriana, and son Larry Allen III – remember him more for being Daddy than this larger-than-life football player the late John Madden would simply gush over. The pictures they will cling to the rest of their lives poignantly tell that story.

Right there with the Instagram post from his oldest child Jayla:

"I don't know how to write this message and what to say. I am in complete shock. I feel like this is a nightmare and I can't (wake) up. Every night I would pray to keep you safe. This doesn't feel real dad. I am heart broken and don't know where to go from this.

"I was blessed with the best father who loved me unconditionally. You would do anything for our family, and I am forever grateful. I feel completely broken and don't know where to go from here. The pain of losing you will stay with me forever. You were my best friend and twin. People always said we were so much a like and that always made me smile.

"I know you are in peace and with granny. I love you always and forever! Rest in peace."

For a man so many were afraid of, Larry was this big, ol' teddy bear to his wife and kids. And if you are willing to take the time, listen to his 16-minute Hall of Fame induction speech – about 13 minutes more than some of us who knew him set the over-under – to understand how much his wife, his kids, his brother, his mother, his grandmother and the Hatton Family he lived with in Napa, Calif., for his senior year in high school meant to him.

Why, he talked about his family and extended family for the first half of his speech, a full eight minutes, interspersed with nervous laughter, moments of silence to compose himself with the help of a cheering crowd and a few funny wisecracks of his own. A side of Larry Allen few of us ever saw.

But they knew. Jayla knew. She was just finishing high school, heading to Pepperdine University, and interviewed her father that summer to help him organize and write his speech. And it really wasn't a speech. It was just Larry Allen talking, talking like I only witnessed once, and that was interviewing him for like two hours at his home in Danville, Calif., while we were putting together his Deep Blue documentary, From Compton to Canton.

Just so genuine.

He began with Janelle: "Of course, I want to thank my heart and soul, my wife, Janelle. On our first date, she cooked for me. She cooked me two chickens, French fries and baked me a cake and gave me a 40 ounce. I knew then that was my wife right there. She has blessed me with three beautiful children."

He went on and on about his kids, not about himself.

First Jayla: "She's a talented actress and a writer. She helped me write this speech. I remember when she was a little girl, I would have a bad game, she was sensitive, and she'd come up to me and say, 'Daddy, what's wrong?' She was about 4 years old. She would bring me cookies, cakes and just try to cheer me up. She'll be going to Pepperdine University this year. I'm so proud of my little mama, and I hope she'll turn into – I know she's going to be an amazing woman."

Then Loriana, now also at Pepperdine: "She's a basketball player. She's kind of like LeBron James. She's pretty good. She's the funniest person I know. She makes me laugh all the time."

And then to his son, Larry III, who eventually played football at Harvard University and signed as an unrestricted rookie free agent with the Cowboys in 2019, walking in Larry's footsteps through training camp:

"He's a 6-4, 290-pound offensive lineman that plays at De La Salle High School, the No. 1 team in California. He's the smartest person I know, and I'm proud of you, son. Very polite, but once he gets on that field, he's a beast, just like his daddy."

Like, did you ever know that Larry Allen, the one he and wife Janelle have put through these prestigious academic colleges he was so proud of?


Larry then went on with his softer side, thanking everyone from the Jones Family, to his mother Vera, to Grandma Dotson, to the Hattons, to brother Byron, to all the Cowboys offensive linemen he had played with, to all the Cowboys defensive linemen he practiced against. He made a special shoutout to his Cowboys Hall of Fame teammates, then coaches, the scouting department (the now late Larry Lacewell) and all the way to the trainers and equipment guys.

And during the final minute of those precious 16 during his speech, totally unexpected from this man of few words, he asked for forgiveness, saying, "And as you know, I'm nervous, so if I forgot anybody, I'm sorry. Thank you, and God bless."

Yep, this Larry Allen, the family man, the one his family knew far better than most, and no matter the immediate sadness, will always embrace through those tender memories and everlasting pictures on Father's Days forever more.