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Ralph Neely
Date of birth: September 12, 1943 (1943-09-12) (age 66)
Place of birth: Little Rock, Arkansas
Career information
Position(s): Offensive tackle
Jersey №: 73
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 2 / Pick: 28
Organizations
 As player:
1965-1977 Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 2
Honors: NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
Playing stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Ralph Eugene Neely (born September 12, 1943 in Little Rock, Arkansas) is a former American football offensive tackle who played 13 seasons and 172 games for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1977.

College career

On the basis of his performance at Farmington (NM) High School, where he was an All-State tackle for two years, Neely was recruited by the University of Oklahoma, where he played college football under coaches Bud Wilkinson and Gomer Jones and was an All-American his senior year.

He was one of three Sooner stars who missed the 1965 Gator Bowl game against Florida State. Neely, fullback Jim Grisham and halfback Lance Rentzel signed with professional teams before the game, and were ruled ineligible for the contest, which Florida State won 36-19 on the strength of four touchdown catches by Fred Biletnikoff.

Professional career

In 1965, Neely was drafted in the second round of both the NFL Draft (by the Baltimore Colts) and the AFL Draft (by the Houston Oilers). The Colts would later trade his rights to the Cowboys.

Neely accepted the Oilers contract offer (which also included rights to own a Houston gas station), but requested it be kept secret to remain eligible to play in the Gator bowl. When Neely learned that the Colts traded their rights to negotiate with Neely to the Dallas Cowboys, he began negotiating with Dallas, and returned his check to the Oilers.

This incident between the Oilers and the Cowboys was the start of the Governor's Cup.

Neely was a two-time Pro Bowler in 1967 and 1969 and was an All-Pro four times.

He was a stalwart on Cowboys offensive line for 13 seasons. With great quickness for a big man, he was a dominant performer.

He started as a rookie at Right Tackle, and remained there for 5 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl three straight seasons from 1967 to 1969.

In 1970, Neely started the season at right guard, but soon took over for Tony Liscio at left tackle, were he manned that position until 1977.

He was injured halfway into the Cowboys victorious 1971 Super Bowl season, when he fractured his leg in an off-road, in-season motorcycle accident; and missed the rest of the year.

In 1977, Neely retired after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII.

He was selected to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.

Though Neely has yet to join his bookend partner Rayfield Wright, in Canton and in the Cowboys Ring Of Honor, he was an excellent and versatile player.

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