Steve Largent is a Super Hero Off the Field Too

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October 25, 2006

SteveLargentHero_1104Steve Largent has been inducted into so many halls of fame that he simply cannot remember all of them. He added another induction to the list Tuesday, courtesy of the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in Boise, Idaho.

And this honor means something to Largent because it looks not at what he did on the football field, but how he used football as a platform to make a difference.

“It’s neat that you have a group of folks that want to recognize athletes who are using the platforms they are given,” Largent said in a phone interview last week. “To utilize it for some greater good, a greater purpose.”

Or several greater goods, in Largent’s case. His list of charity involvement includes, but is not limited to: Children’s Hospital, Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Salvation Army, the Wheelchairs for the World Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. All while playing 14 seasons for the Seahawks – he’s also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – or holding down a day job, first as a member of Congress for seven years, now as president of CTIA (The Wireless Association).

At CTIA, Largent is working on a national domestic violence hotline and Amber Alerts for missing and exploited children. “I can’t tell you how important it is for people on the public stage to utilize that stage in a constructive, positive way,” Largent said. “When you’re in the public eye, you have a decision to make – whether you are going to be an influence or not.”

Largent made that choice early while living with his grandfather in seventh grade. His grandfather served as a role model, taught him the importance of people, the importance of giving back. So when Largent’s stature in the NFL started growing, he recognized the weight his impact carried.

That impact remains today in letters his wife has tucked away somewhere. They are from parents whose children were at Children’s Hospital. They contain stories about children who passed away or who survived, and how those children felt when Largent stopped by their hospital room or wrote a letter or made a phone call.

“You can’t put a price tag on those things,” Largent says.

Largent joins baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew and basketball player Steve Smith in the 2006 class. They will be formally inducted in late November. These guys are the anti-Terrell Owenses of the sports world, the anti-Charles Barkleys. They are role models, and they embrace that.

“People like to read about the downfall,” Largent said. “I can’t explain why. What I know is the overwhelming majority of professional athletes are involved in really great things, helping other people. Those are the kind of things that this banquet and this group celebrates. I applaud them for that.”

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