Larry Stephens (American football)
|Date of birth||September 24, 1938|
|Place of birth||Buda, Texas|
|Date of death||March 28, 1998(aged 59)|
|AFL draft||1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: First Selections|
|Drafted by||New York Titans|
|NFL draft||1960 / Round: 2 / Pick: 18|
|1962||Los Angeles Rams|
He was a 1956 graduate of Angleton High School. In his senior year he was named High School All-American in football. He was an outstanding all-around athlete who also excelled in basketball, baseball, and track. He later married Jane Stephens and had 5 children. Mark, Susan, Jeff, Shannon, and Walter.
He was widely recruited and committed to play football at the University of Texas which was then coached by Darrell Royal. He was a key contributor to the Longhorn's successes in the late 1950s which included an SWC Championship and appearances in both the Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl Classic. In his senior year he was named to the All-Southwest Conference team. He also pitched for the Texas Longhorns baseball team.
The Cleveland Browns selected him in the second round of the 1960 NFL Draft. He played for the Browns in 1960 and 1961. While with the Browns he scored his only NFL touchdown on a 38-yard interception return against the Dallas Cowboys.
Los Angeles Rams
He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams along with two future draft choices, in exchange for quarterback Frank Ryan and running back Tommy Wilson. In 1962 he started at defensive tackle alongside NFL notables Merlin Olson, Lamar Lundy, and Deacon Jones.
In 1963 he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a future draft choice, where he would play defensive end for the original "Doomsday Defense". He became a versatile starter along the four positions in the defensive line from 1963 through 1966, until he was slowed by a knee injury and was replaced by Willie Townes.
In 1965 he made a field goal block to help the Cowboys set up a last minute touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers, winning the game to end a 5-game losing streak, which was key for the Cowboys to reach the 1966 Playoff Bowl.
While he was with the Cowboys, the team made the transition from mediocrity to championship contention. He also played in the 1967 NFL Championship Game (commonly known as the Ice Bowl).
Stephens taught American History and coached football at Magnolia Junior High School in Magnolia, Texas in the 1980s. He worked as a special education teacher for the Lockhart Independent School District in Lockhart, Texas during the 1990s. He was an active supporter of Special Olympics.
The Pete Logan character in the 2008 film The Express was based on him. He died on March 28, 1998.