Guard Larry Allen compiled Hall of Fame credentials throughout the first dozen years of his NFL career because of his mean streak. Now he hopes that attitude rubs off on his new 49ers teammates.
"I guess I'll be helping the young guys, and give them a little nasty streak," said Allen, whom the 49ers signed Friday to a two-year contract.
"I'm looking for toughness and physicalness and an identity that our offensive line is searching for," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "It's always good to have a veteran of Larry's type to say, 'It's OK to be mean and nasty and do what you have to do. Don't hold back.'"
Allen will take over at left guard for the 49ers, who owned the league's worst offense last season. He will pair up on the left side with tackle Jonas Jennings, whom Allen met Thursday evening over dinner.
The 49ers signed Allen a couple days after the club lost free-agent linebacker Julian Peterson to the Seahawks. The Cowboys released Allen due to salary-cap considerations, saving a reported $3.4 million on the cap.
"We're excited about the addition of Larry Allen," Nolan said. "One of things I've tried to impress is that when you add a veteran player, it not only gives us good performance, I guess leadership is the word. He has pelts on the wall, and this young unit can look up to that. I'm very confident Larry gives us that."
Allen said the Raiders, Seahawks and Lions all made contact with him but he opted to sign with the 49ers to return to Northern California. He finished high school in Napa and played at Sonoma State, an NCAA Division II school approximately 50 miles north of San Francisco.
"This is a perfect situation for me," Allen said. "My old coach is here."
Line coach George Warhop coached Allen for two seasons with the Cowboys. "He's cool," Allen said. "He gives you all the information you need, and he's a great coach."
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