Larry Allen and Bill Parcells found themselves at the wrong point in their careers, when Parcells took over the Dallas Cowboys in 2003.
Allen, a great player, was a 10-year veteran trying to squeeze a few more years out of his body. Parcells, a great coach, was trying to make the Cowboys a winner after the worst three-year stretch of the Jerry Jones era.
We shouldn't be surprised they clashed.
The surprise is that it was rooted in Allen's offseason approach. Allen wanted his offseason conditioning program built around the bench press, which is what he'd always done. Parcells wanted him doing clean and jerks as the base of his offseason program because it's an exercise that builds strength and power.
"I was paid to play football," Allen said. "I just wanted to do what I had always done. It's what made me the player I was and I wanted to do it my way."
Parcells said Allen's personality made it difficult for them to develop a rapport or find a common ground. If Allen hadn't signed a six-year, $37 million contract extension in 2002, he probably wouldn't have lasted three seasons with Parcells.
"I think he’s a good person. I always thought that. He was a little overweight at the time," Parcells said of the 2004 training camp. "He wasn't in great condition. I’m trying to get my program started and I got him -- one of my best players supposed to be running wind sprints up and down the field not practicing. That was hard for him and that was hard for me.
"I never really conversed with Larry on an intimate basis. I see him and he’s cordial and nice. He had a great career."
Despite their differences, Parcells said Allen is one of the top three guards he's ever seen.
"He’s right there at the top with John Hannah and Mike Munchak," Parcells said. "Larry was very powerful, probably the most powerful player I’d ever seen."