Todd Archer: Time for Allen to get tough 03:53 PM CDT on Thursday, May 20, 2004 IRVING - Larry Allen is back working out with his teammates. That's a good thing and a smart thing on Allen's behalf, especially now that it appears the offensive lineman will be with the Cowboys this season. The Cowboys asked Allen to stay away from the off-season conditioning program. They attempted to work out a trade for the seven-time Pro Bowler, but when Allen nixed a deal to Detroit there were no more options. Then came the meetings with owner and general manager Jerry Jones and coach Bill Parcells. Allen's agent, Marvin Demoff, has insisted that Allen has no qualms with Jones, and why should he considering how well Jones has compensated Allen? Left unsaid is how Allen feels about Parcells. When Parcells said there were other things Allen needed to take care of besides his conditioning, Allen said he had no idea what Parcells was talking about. Allen did not like the way Parcells chided him last year. Well, tough. Parcells chides everybody - Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Drew Bledsoe ... and Allen. He was asked to change some of his workout habits and didn't or wouldn't. For the first time he had a coach stand up to him. Allen didn't like it. Some people believe you can't do that with a Hall of Fame player. You can't? Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach once told Bill Russell, one of the most prolific champions in professional sports, that he would ride him harder than any other player because that's how his message would best be heard. Auerbach rode Russell and the Celtics won championships. That brings us back to the present. The Cowboys need Allen to be successful in 2004. He reportedly is in great shape, but how great of shape can he be in if he wasn't with his teammates earlier in the off-season? Players have a tendency to do more when they are around other players. Now that Allen is back, he will likely be pushed by peer pressure. He needs to be in much better shape to stay on the field in 2004. Last year, the Cowboys had no alternatives. But the team has re-signed Gennaro DiNapoli, who is mostly a center but can play guard if needed. DiNapoli will also benefit from a full training camp, something he didn't have last year. The team has also signed CFL refugee Tango McCauley to a five-year contract in hopes he can become a contributing player. They also drafted Stephen Peterman in the third round. Parcells has options to replace Allen, something he didn't have a year ago. Allen, even with his credentials and salary, needs to be in better condition. Or else he will hear it again from Parcells, whether he likes it or not.