Thursday, April 28, 2011

Former Pack center Larsen saves kayakers

The sea was getting dangerously choppy when former N.C. State center Ted Larsen heard Coast Guard boater in distress signal Wednesday.

Larsen was fishing with his girlfriend in a 24-foot boat and responded quickly. He located and rescued three teen-age kayakers in the Gulf of Mexico off Honeymoon Island near Tampa, but dismissed the idea that he was a hero.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Now awaiting the start of his second season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard, Larsen has been spending time in Raleigh working out at N.C. State. He had gone home to Florida to take a break for a week when he ran across the kayakers.

He said they were “pretty happy” when he delivered them safe on dry land.

“It was getting pretty hairy out there,” Larsen said.

Now he will continue waiting out the NFL lockout after a successful rookie season. Drafted in the sixth round by the New England Patriots, he was waived at the end of training camp and went to the Buccaneers, where he started 11 games as a rookie.

“I’m trying to improve every day, just improve off the stuff I did last season,” Larsen said.

No matter what he does on the field, he won’t often have a more satisfying feeling than he did Wednesday.

Ken Tysiac