Ron Springs, one of the Peninsula's most renowned football players, has died at age 54.

The former Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back, who spent the past four years in a coma after losing oxygen during a 2007 operation, died without ever regaining consciousness.

Former Cowboys teammate Everson Walls, who donated a kidney to Springs for a transplant, says the Springs family informed him that his friend died about 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Medical City Dallas hospital.

The hospital is where Springs, who played at Lafayette High School, first slipped into the coma in 2007 after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from his forearm.

Walls said the death came as a surprise and that funeral arrangements are pending.

Walls says, "He was such a worldly person who touched so many lives in every area code."

As a senior at Lafayette in 1974, Springs rushed for a then-Peninsula District-record 1,876 yards, including 315 in one game. In the 1973 Group AAA state semifinals, before a sellout crowd at William and Mary, he caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes to give the Rams a 14-7 victory over Highland Springs. Springs led Ohio State with 1,166 yards in 1977.

In 2008, Springs was ranked sixth by the Daily Press in the top-10 best running backs in Peninsula history.

He played six seasons for the Cowboys and two with the Buccaneers. Springs played for three season with Ohio State, where he led the Buckeyes in rushing with 1,166 yards in 1977 and ranks 18th all-time with 2,140.

Among Springs survivors is his son, former Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs.