The stoic sideline demeanor of coach Dennis Allen is a curiosity to Raiders fans who would like to see a little more fire. But it's totally within character for someone who grew up with a father who approached life much the same way.
Grady Allen, who died Tuesday morning at age 66 of cardiac arrest in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, played five years as a linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons after a college career that eventually landed him in the Texas A&M Hall of Fame.
Tim Edwards, who coached Dennis Allen and his older brother Geoff at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, said the only way anyone would know Grady had played in the NFL was if they were fans or had heard it from someone else.
"He never interfered, but was always there for booster club meetings and fundraisers," Edwards said. "I'll tell you what he was -- he was a John Wayne type. That's the way he carried himself, a big man like that. He carried that type of magnitude in his walk and his smile -- just a big, strong, silent type."
Grady Allen and his wife Kay instilled a work ethic that is shared by Dennis, his older brother and younger sister.
Dennis Allen and his father shared football, but nephew Don Holt said Grady was equally proud of Geoff, a doctor in Kansas City specializing in pediatric critical care, and daughter Ann Marie, a registered nurse.
The family was last together in Kansas City on Oct. 28, when the Raiders beat the Chiefs 26-16.
to the Raiders, Dennis Allen will return from Texas on Wednesday and be on the sideline when they host the Denver Broncos on Thursday night at O.co Coliseum.
Dennis and his siblings all attended Texas A&M, where Grady played defensive end and was on the Aggies team that beat Alabama in the 1968 Cotton Bowl.
In an interview with the Bay Area News Group in January, Grady joked that he told Dennis, "You can go to school anywhere you want, but I'll only pay for Texas A&M."
Since Dennis earned a scholarship, it didn't matter. But the school was in his father's blood. He and Dennis are both members of the Texas A&M Letterman's Association, with Grady serving as the group's president in 2006.
In 1995, when Dennis was a senior safety for the Aggies, Grady was inducted into the school's hall of fame. That Dennis got into coaching after failing to make the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent came as no surprise.
"He probably played at a level maybe one or two steps above his athletic ability would lead you to believe, because he was a student of the game and could anticipate," Grady Allen said in January.
Likewise, Grady Allen had a knack for football, according to Holt, whose mother is Grady's older sister.
"Grady wasn't a super-fast, super-talented guy, but he always knew where the ball was going," Holt said. "He had a head for the ball, and he was there to be able to make whatever play needed to be made at that particular time."
Kay Allen told WFAA.com last January it was clear Dennis displayed football organizational skills as early as the second grade, when Grady was coaching youth football.
"Dennis would line everyone up," Kay Allen said. "It was really funny because at that age, they don't really know. They're just having fun. But Dennis actually knew, and he knew where everybody was supposed to be."
When Dennis Allen was climbing the coaching ranks, his father resisted any urge to network on his behalf.
Atlanta coach Dan Reeves hired Allen unaware that he was the son of a former opponent and former Falcons player.
"Grady would never promote Dennis, because he wanted him to earn it," Holt said. "He knew if Dennis was going to be successful, he would have to earn it and prove it."
Friends and family members believe Grady Allen's lessons will serve Dennis Allen well as he rides out a difficult rookie season that has the Raiders at 3-9 and having lost five straight games.
"I hurt for Dennis, but he's a very resilient person," Edwards said. "If people are patient and let him get a foundation built, they'll have someone that's strong, that's a leader, and someone who cares about his team, the players and the community. I know that was instilled by his dad."