Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lance Alworth got his stolen 1972 Super Bowl ring returned to him this week, but law enforcement is still investigating where the lost ring has been.
The San Diego County's sheriff's department returned the ring to Alworth, 73, during a news conference at its Encinitas sheriff's station, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Hall of Famer, who also played for the San Diego Chargers, was a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl team that beat the Miami Dolphins.
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The ring was stolen during a 1992 burglary at the former Trophy's restaurant in Mission Valley, where it was on display with other sports memorabilia.
"I’m just totally shocked to have this ring after all these years," Alworth said during the news conference.
Alworth received a call from a woman Sept. 7 who wanted to sell him back the stolen ring for $5,000. When Alworth showed interest, the woman apparently overplayed her hand, ratcheting up the price to $40,000. Alworth then went to authorities.
After authorities arranged recorded phone calls between Alworth and the woman, law enforcement traced the ring to a Laguna Niguel auction house where it was scheduled to be auctioned off Nov. 20 with a starting bid of $44,000.
Authorities turned over the case involving a clothing shop owner, his wife and the employee who contacted Alworth to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution on a felony charge of misappropriation of stolen property. A detective told the Union-Tribune that the recorded phone conversations made it clear that the Alworth's ring was stolen.
Alworth was the first former American Football League player to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1978.
In 11 pro seasons, he caught 542 passes for 10,266 yards, had a 18.94-yard average, and had 85 touchdowns. Nine of those seasons were with San Diego and two were with Dallas.
He was named All-AFL seven straight years from 1963 to 1969 and played in the AFL's last seven All-Star games.
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