Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys rookie Larry Allen Jr. living the dream, walking in his father’s footsteps

When Larry Allen Jr. signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent, the first call he made was to his legendary father.

The response was predictable from the Pro Football Hall of Famer and the greatest offensive lineman in franchise history.

“‘How ‘bout them Cowboys!’ That’s the first thing he shouted over the phone,” Allen Jr. said during rookie minicamp last weekend.

Being at the Cowboys headquarters and wearing the blue and silver is a dream come true for the younger Allen, who played at Harvard and is trying to make the team as a developmental guard prospect.

“It’s the greatest team in the NFL,” Allen Jr. said. “It’s my dad’s favorite team. It’s my favorite team. “To come here and be able to do this myself — just to be able to even try to attempt to try to do what he did and be where he was — it’s an amazing opportunity.”

While Allen Jr shares his dad’s name, he does not have the same resume or pedigree as a football player. The elder Allen was a second-round pick in 2007 who started as a rookie and went on to be named to 11 Pro Bowls.

The biggest thing the son has in common, outside the name, is they play the same position and he was able to pick up tips from one of the best to ever do it.

“In a way, he’s just my dad,” Allen Jr. said. “He’s taught me the way he teaches anyone, but he’s also taught me as his son, and you can’t replace that. He’s been extremely helpful, and just trying to do what I can to make him proud and do what he did.”

Allen Jr. understands the pressure that comes with being the son of a Hall of Famer.

“I’m just trying to show who I am, what kind of player I am and what I can do,” Allen Jr. said. “First, I’m just trying to make the team. I’m trying to learn everything I can. It’s true that the guys and the coaches they have here are world-class. I’m just trying to soak it in. I’m trying to do the best I can to become better as a player, to become better as a teammate.”

The Cowboys thought enough of Allen Jr. as a player to sign him as a rookie free agent. They like his smarts, size, and physicality, according to scouting director Will McClay.

”Larry Allen Jr. is here because he’s a really good football player. That’s why he’s here,” Garrett said. “There’s no question it’s a great story and we have so much admiration for his dad and for his family, but as much as anything else we’re going to try to evaluate him as Larry Allen Jr. and see what he does.”

Still, a player who grew up around the organization watching his father play and practice, Allen Jr. can’t help but be in awe of his situation and the daily reminders of his father’s greatness.

“Sometimes I’m just focused on trying to prepare and everything, and then, like the next moment, I’ll turn a corner and see something and it’ll kind of seem dreamlike again,” Allen Jr. said. “Yes, it’s very surreal.”

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.