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Article: THEN & NOW | TONY LISCIO
Liscio continues to answer the call when needed
By Carlos Mendez
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Tony Liscio gave the Cowboys a helping hand when they needed it in the Super Bowl season of 1971. Years after his retirement, it has become a habit.
The former offensive tackle joins other former pro football players in helping rebuild homes for underprivileged families in Dallas. Each December, he and Jerry Norton, president of the National Football League Players' Association chapter in Dallas, find a home and a contractor, and round up a group of players to help.
"We call it the Holiday House," Liscio said. "Dallas condemns a lot of houses, and these are houses that are going to be condemned. Once that happens, the Dallas Housing Authority takes over. We get all the permits with the aid of the Housing Authority. We usually pick the house with the most children. The last one we did was a great-grandmother who was raising children."
Sometimes, the entire structure is torn down and a new one is built in its place. Liscio said the process can take as few as three days of work by the contractor and volunteers. Liscio also has picked up a nail and hammer.
"Some guys come out and shake hands with the workers and sign footballs, and that's great," he said. "Jethro Pugh had never been to one, and he came out one year with a suit on. He went home, changed his clothes and spent three days there. And Jerry Norton, our president, he's in his 70s, and he does a lot of the work."
Liscio retired from the NFL after the Super Bowl in January 1972 (the Cowboys defeated Miami 24-3). He had two stints with the Cowboys, including a shortened retirement in the second half of 1971 when the team needed a tackle.
"Ralph Neely had broken his leg in a motorcycle accident. His backup had a broken bone in his foot. Forrest Gregg had pulled a hamstring. So, they were down to only one tackle, Rayfield Wright," Liscio said. "Coach [Tom] Landry had been calling around, and he called, and I said I had to think about it, and how long do I have? He said 30 minutes. So, I went out there. I played every down all the way to the Super Bowl.
Liscio spent 24 years working for a company that built refrigeration units for grocery stores, also finding time to watch a son who played at Texas Tech and one who played at Lake Highlands High School. He retired three years ago, and put more time into NFLPA activities. He also organizes luncheon series, featuring former players as speakers to raise money for the home-building and other projects.
"Outside of building houses, we also buy special bicycles for handicapped children at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital," he said.
IN THE KNOW
THE TONY LISCIO FILE
Years with the Cowboys: 1963-64, 1966-71
Drafted: 1963, third round by Green Bay
Favorite Cowboys moment: "Coming back and winning the Super Bowl. Those last eight games I played in my career, I was just so relaxed. I was kind of playing on borrowed time. When it came to conditioning after practice, I'd just go in. I'd save my legs. I wasn't going to leave it on the practice field."