Early in his speech upon being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Larry Allen joked about having to having to address the audience.
“During my career, I didn’t talk that much. I didn’t have to — I used my helmet,” Allen said.
If anyone needed another reminder about how the former Cowboys offensive guard played, they got it.
The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Allen was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first try, and with good reason. Such was Allen’s dominance that he was voted to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and the 2000s. He made 11 Pro Bowls, nine for the Cowboys, for whom he became a household name — hardly easy for an interior lineman.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones presented Allen, the No. 46 overall pick in the 1994 draft — the first draft after Jimmy Johnson’s departure from Dallas.
“He’s taken advantage of every opportunity that he’s ever gotten,” Jones said of Allen.
In his induction speech, Allen, who showed visible emotion, thanked a long list of family and former teammates.
He also mixed in some good humor. When he thanked his wife — “my heart and soul” — he recalled their first date.
“She cooked me two chickens, french fries, baked me a cake and gave me a 40-ounce,” he said, laughing. “I knew then that was my wife right there.”
Allen also recalled how struggling against the late Reggie White drove him to get even stronger.
“I have never been dominated like that before in my life. So I got in that weight room and became the strongest man in the NFL,” Allen said.
The crowd applauded. And then, Allen, chuckling, said: “I did it naturally, all right?”
He added, “You know, it’s funny — once I benched 700 pounds, they tested me twice a week for the rest of my career.” He punctuated this with a laugh, a common sound in a memorable speech.