Ralph Neely. Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys via Facebook.

Ralph Neely, a former Lakewood neighbor who played his entire career for the Dallas Cowboys, died Jan. 5, the team reported; he was 78.

The team did not say what caused Neely’s death.

Neely was born Sept. 12, 1943, in Little Rock, Arkansas. In college, he played for the Oklahoma Sooners under coaches Bud Wilkinson and Gomer Jones.

He wore the No. 73 jersey for the Cowboys and played with the team for 13 seasons on the offensive line. The last game of his career was the Super Bowl XII win over the Denver Broncos. In total, he played on five Super Bowl teams and won two championships.

When he started, Don Meredith was the quarterback. And at the end of his career, Roger Staubach had taken the position.

“I was able to participate in a field and accomplish more than what one-tenth of 1% of the people do,” Neely told us in 2007. “I’m glad I did it and proud I did it, but I don’t dwell on it. Life goes on.”

At that time, Neely was living in his sixth Lakewood home. He only left our neighborhood once, for Highland Park, and he didn’t like it.

Neely wasn’t the only Cowboys player to call East Dallas home. Mike Connelly lived near White Rock Lake, and Jethro Pugh lived on Swiss Avenue.