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'Mr. Cowboy' Bob Lilly checks in with Beast

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

On Tuesday afternoon, the NFC Beast radio show had a chance to visit with Cowboys Hall of Famer Bob Lilly on ESPN 103.3 FM. Here's the exclusive audio from the interview.

Lilly's new book, "A Cowboy's Life," was just released. It's the story of how a kid from Throckmorton, Texas, grew up to be one of the greatest defensive tackles in the history of the league. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Lilly pretty well over the years, and he's a fascinating guy. After his playing days were over, Lilly became an accomplished photographer.

At TCU, he was considered one of the strongest players in the nation. But he didn't start lifting weights until the late 1960s. Before that, he said players used to buy their own weights and bring them to the practice facility. He used to watch Mickey Mantle do interviews on TV in front of what appeared to be a spacious locker. But when he arrived at the Cowboys' practice facility in 1961, he was shocked to find the same lockers he had in junior high.

Lilly was kind enough to grant us an interview during what has been a difficult couple of weeks. He buried his brother, Larry, recently after an extended illness. Lilly said promoting his new book has been therapeutic for him as he grieves.

I read half the book Tuesday night, and it's pretty entertaining. If you're trying to come up with the greatest all-time Cowboy, the conversation has to begin and end with Lilly.