Former Cowboys offensive lineman Ralph Neely dies at 78

Dallas Cowboys
Getty Images

Former Cowboys offensive lineman Ralph Neely died this week, the team announced Wednesday. Neely was 78.

Neely played his entire 13-year NFL career with the Cowboys.

He was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the second round of the 1965 AFL draft and by the Baltimore Colts in the second round of the 1965 NFL draft. The Colts traded his NFL contractual rights to the Cowboys in exchange for Billy Lothridge and a fourth-round selection in 1966.

Neely signed with the Oilers before the Cowboys acquired his rights. He returned his check to the Oilers and joined the Cowboys, and the Oilers sued. The teams resolved the lawsuit in 1966 as part of the NFL-AFL merger.

Neely played until 1977, appearing in five Super Bowls and winning two rings. The Cowboys’ Super Bowl XII win over the Broncos was the final game of Neely’s career.

He earned all-rookie honors, three first-team All-Pro awards and twice made the Pro Bowl.

Neely played right tackle his first five seasons and left tackle for his final eight.

He ranks 11th in Cowboys history with 168 games started.