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Del Mar resident Lance Alworth holds up his 1971 Super Bowl ring as Sheriff’s Detective Jaime Rodriguez watches during a press conference Tuesday morning. After the ring was stolen 25 years ago, Rodriguez and other detectives recovered it. Photo by Jared Whitlock
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Super Bowl ring returned to Hall of Fame player

ENCINITAS — Lance Alworth noted that his 1971 Super Bowl ring is going back into his safe during a press conference Tuesday morning at the Encinitas Sheriff’s Substation. 

“It’s not for sale,” Alworth said with a laugh.

Alworth, a Del Mar resident who was inducted into the NFL’s Hall of Fame in 1978, recently got his ring back after it was reported stolen in 1988 from Trophy’s Restaurant in Mission Valley.

“To have this happen, it’s a miracle,” Alworth said. “It is a miracle for it to appear after all these years.”

He donated the ring to Trophy’s, which is now closed, to be displayed alongside other memorabilia like a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. However, thieves broke into the restaurant one night and swiped the memorabilia. A construction worker accidentally disabled the restaurant’s alarm, according to Sheriff’s Detective Jaime Rodriguez.

In September, Alworth got several calls from an unknown woman demanding $40,000 for the ring. He approached detectives at the Encinitas Sheriff’s substation and they launched an investigation.

Ultimately, the ring was located at an auction house in Laguna Nigel, Calif., where it was slated for an opening bid of $44,000.

Rodriguez said the man who possessed the ring resides in Palm Springs. He obtained it in 2001 and had “fallen on hard times,” prompting the sale.

The man who possessed the ring and two others who worked to sell it face felony charges of misappropriation of stolen property. However, arrests have not been made. The case has been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.

“We’re going to have them review it before we make an moves,” Rodriguez said.

Alworth played nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers from 1962 to 1970. He later played two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where he earned the ring after the team won Super Bowl VI.

As for the ring’s condition, Alworth commented that it’s still “beautiful.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Rodriguez at (760) 966-3504 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

At the end of the press conference, Alworth shut the jewelry box housing the ring and remarked, “case closed.”