Ralph Neely Death: Former Cowboys Offensive Lineman, Ralph Neely Death Cause

Ralph Neely, Former two-time All-Pro Cowboys offensive lineman, whom the Dallas Cowboys called “one of the first great offensive linemen in team history” has reportedly passed away. Neely died at the age of 78 on Jan. 6, 2022. However, details regarding his cause of death was not made public.

According to his bio, Ralph Neely was born on September 12, 1943 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended Farmington High School, where he was an All-State tackle for two years in football, and a standout center for the basketball team.

Neely played 13 seasons in the NFL, all with the Cowboys from 1965-77. He was a full-time starter in Dallas from Day 1 after the Cowboys traded for his contractual rights following his Round 2 selection by the Baltimore Colts in 1965. He played his first five seasons at right tackle before transitioning to left tackle, where he protected Roger Staubach’s blindside.

By the time he retired after the 1977 season, Neely had started in 168 of the 172 games he played. He made two Pro Bowls in addition to his three All-Pro honors and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-1960s team. He played in four Super Bowls, including Cowboys wins over the Miami Dolphins after the 1971 season and Denver Broncos after the 1977 season. The Super Bowl XII win over the Broncos was the final game of his career.

The Dallas Cowboys announced that Ralph Neely their former great offensive tackle passed away at the age of 78 in early January. Neely was drafted in the second round of both the 1965 NFL Draft (by the Baltimore Colts) and the 1965 AFL Draft (by the Houston Oilers). The Colts traded his NFL contractual rights to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for Billy Lothridge and a fourth-round selection in the 1966 NFL Draft on August 29, 1965.
Neely accepted the Oilers’ contract offer (which also included the right to own a Houston gas station), but requested it be kept secret to remain eligible to play in the Gator Bowl. When he learned that the Colts traded his rights to the Cowboys, he began negotiating with Dallas, and returned his check to the Oilers. Litigation ensued between the Oilers and Cowboys in regards to his rights.
A rookie in 1965, he joined the Cowboys just as they were beginning their ascent in the NFL, became an immediate starter at right offensive tackle and was named to the NFL’s all-rookie team. With great quickness for his size, he became a dominant player on the Cowboys offensive line for 13 seasons.
One of the terms of the merger agreement between the NFL and the AFL was that the Neely contract dispute be resolved. In 1966, the Cowboys finally agreed with the Oilers to send draft choices (a first, second and two fifth round choices in the 1967 NFL Draft), pay all of the court costs and to start the annual pre-season game the Governor’s Cup between the two teams.
Neely was a four-time All-Pro and a two-time Pro Bowler in 1967 and 1969. In 1970, Neely started the season at right guard, but soon took over for Tony Liscio at left offensive tackle, where he manned the position until 1977, while continuing to be one of the NFL’s premier offensive linemen.
He was injured halfway into the Cowboys’ victorious 1971 Super Bowl season when he fractured his left leg in an off-road motorcycle accident and missed the rest of the year.
In 1977, Neely retired after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos. He was selected to the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade Team, though Neely has yet to join his bookend partner Rayfield Wright in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
Neely’s accomplishments read like an autobiography for his induction to the Hall of Fame:
2× All-Big Eight (1963, 1964)
Second-team All-American (1963)
Consensus All-American (1964)
4× All-Pro (1966–1969)
2× Pro Bowl (1967, 1969)
NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
2× Super Bowl champion (VI, XII)
Condolences to his family and friends, and may he Rest in Peace. The above article was sourced from Neely’s Wikipedia page.


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