Steve Largent

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Steven Largent
Stevelargent.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
November 29, 1994 – February 15, 2002
Preceded by Jim Inhofe
Succeeded by John Sullivan
Personal details
Born (1954-09-28) September 28, 1954 (age 59)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Political party Republican
Steve Largent
NFL-Week02-SeaVSF001.JPG
Banners of Largent and the 12th Man hang over CenturyLink Field formerly Qwest Field
No. 80
Wide Receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-09-28) September 28, 1954 (age 59)
Place of birth: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
College: Tulsa
NFL Draft: 1976 / Round: 4 / Pick: 117
Debuted in 1976 for the Seattle Seahawks
Last played in 1989 for the Seattle Seahawks
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions 819
Receiving Yards 13,089
Touchdowns 100
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Steven Michael "Steve" Largent (born September 28, 1954) is a retired American football player, enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a former Republican politician, having served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma, from 1994 until 2002. In 2002, he was defeated in his run for Governor of Oklahoma in a three-way race in which he had been considered the frontrunner. Prior to his political career, Largent was a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League for his entire 14-season professional football career. He held several all-time receiving records when he retired.

Football career[edit]

In 1974 at Tulsa, he had 884 yards receiving and 14 TD catches. In 1975, he had 51 catches for 1,000 yards and 14 TD catches.

Despite an All-American career at the University of Tulsa, Largent was not selected until the fourth round of the 1976 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers (117th pick). After four preseason games, he was slated to be cut, but was instead traded to the expansion Seattle Seahawks for a 1977 eighth-round pick.

Largent spent thirteen years with the Seahawks, and, while not particularly fast, was extremely sure-handed. He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl seven times, and was the first Seahawk to earn that honor. In 1982, Largent, along with teammate Jim Zorn, ended his participation in the NFL strike, after the third and final week of the strike, citing religious principles, specifically based on Matthew 5:36–37, stating that "your word is your bond" and that all contracts shall be honored as with God.

In 1989, Steve Largent became the first Seahawks player to win the Steve Largent Award for his spirit, dedication and integrity.[2]

When Largent retired, he held all major NFL receiving records, including: most receptions in a career (819), most receiving yards in a career (13,089), and most touchdown receptions (100). He was also in possession of a then-record streak of 177 consecutive regular-season games with a reception. He also holds the distinction as the first receiver in NFL history to achieve 100 touchdown receptions in his career.

Largent was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1999, he was ranked number 46 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, the only Seahawk on the list.

His number (80) was retired in 1992; Largent is the first Seahawk player to be so honored (the team has retired number 12 in honor of the fans, the "twelfth man", the number 71 for offensive tackle Walter Jones, on December 5, 2010,[3] and the number 96 for defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy on October 14, 2012.)[4] During Jerry Rice's stint with the Seahawks in 2004, Largent's number 80 was temporarily "unretired" after a conversation between Rice and Largent that was reportedly initiated by then Seahawks president Bob Whitsitt.[5] Largent remains the most prolific receiver in team history. On October 26, 2008 Largent's University of Tulsa number (83) was also retired.[6]

Political career[edit]

In 1994, Oklahoma's 1st District Congressman Jim Inhofe resigned to run in a special election to succeed Senator David Boren. Largent won the election to succeed Inhofe in Congress; pursuant to an Oklahoma statute, Governor David Walters designated the special election in which Largent was elected to serve the remainder of Inhofe's term in the 103rd Congress before beginning his term in the 104th Congress.[7][8]

Largent took office on November 29, 1994 and was reelected to the three succeeding Congresses, never winning less than 60 percent of the vote in the heavily Republican Tulsa-based district.[9][10][11]

Like many in the Republican freshman class elected in 1994, when the Republicans took control of the House for the first time in 40 years, Largent's voting record was solidly conservative. Largent was one of the "true believers" in that freshman class, devoting most of his time to issues important to the conservative Christians.

One of his first bills was a "parental rights" bill that died in committee after it attracted opposition even from other Christian conservatives. Another of his bills would have abolished the federal tax code at the end of 2001. He opposed ending the 1995 federal government shutdown and played a role in the failed attempt to oust Newt Gingrich as Speaker. Largent introduced a bill that would ban adoptions by gay and lesbian parents in Washington, D.C.

He was criticized as anti-Catholic due to his line of questioning of a House of Representatives chaplain in 2000, though he denied this.[12]

After the Republicans lost 5 seats in the 1998 midterm elections, Largent tried to take advantage of discontent with Majority Leader Dick Armey by challenging Armey for the post. Although Armey was not popular in the Republican caucus, Largent was thought to be far too conservative for the liking of some moderate Republicans, and Armey won on the third ballot.[13] However, when Bob Livingston of Louisiana stood down as Speaker-elect, Armey was still too wounded to make a bid for the job.

Largent decided to run for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002. He easily won the Republican nomination and resigned his House seat on February 15 to devote his energy to the race. Initially seen as an overwhelming favorite against Democratic state senator Brad Henry, Largent lost to Henry by just under 7,000 votes.

Largent's loss has been attributed by analysts to factors that included:

  • The presence of a well-funded independent (Gary Richardson, a former Republican) on the general election ballot;[14]
  • Henry's support of cockfighting, garnering a last minute endorsement by rural cockfighting interests that turned out in large numbers in the election in which the legality of cockfighting was on the ballot;[14][15][16]
  • Largent used a vulgarity, "bullshit" in response to an Oklahoma City television reporter who repeatedly asked where he was at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Largent had been on a hunting trip and did not know about the attacks until then.[15][17]

People magazine named Largent to its 1996 list of "Most Beautiful People".[18]

Largent became President & CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association in November 2003. CTIA is an international nonprofit membership organization founded in 1984, representing all sectors of wireless communications: cellular, personal communication services and enhanced specialized mobile radio.[19][20]

Electoral history[edit]

Oklahoma's 1st congressional district: Results 1994–2000[21][dead link]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1994 Stuart Price 63,753 37% Steve Largent 107,085 63%
1996 Randolph John Amen 57,996 28% Steve Largent 143,415 68% Karla Condray Independent 8,996 4%
1998 Howard Plowman 56,309 38% Steve Largent 91,031 62%
2000 Dan Lowe 58,493 29% Steve Largent 138,528 69% Michael A. Clem Libertarian 2,984 1%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/L/LargSt00.htm
  2. ^ Booth, Tim (2008, December 19). Holmgren given Largent Award by players. KomoNews.com. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.theolympian.com/2010/12/01/1459482/walter-jones-retired-number-unveiling.html
  4. ^ http://www.seahawks.com/news/articles/article-1/Seahawks-to-Retire-Kennedy-Jersey-during-Halftime-on-Sunday/f9cf2352-8826-432e-b092-d9c002b84551
  5. ^ Greg Bishop, "Hawks offered No. 80, Rice says", Seattle Times, October 29, 2004.
  6. ^ Mike Brown, "TU honors standouts", Tulsa World, October 27, 2008.
  7. ^ Biodata
  8. ^ Jim Myers, "Largent Takes Oath of Office", Tulsa World, November 30, 1994.
  9. ^ Current Election Results
  10. ^ General Election Results 11/3/98
  11. ^ General Election Results 11/7/00
  12. ^ David van Biema, Catholic Bashing?, TIME, February 27, 2000.
  13. ^ Guy Gugliotta and Juliet Eilperin. House Republicans Embrace Livingston, Armey, Watts. Washington Post, 1998-11-19.
  14. ^ a b David Averill, "Eyeing another campaign: Richardson had impact on 2002 governor's race", Tulsa World, March 22, 2009.
  15. ^ a b "Henry upsets Steve Largent in governor's race", AP at USA Today, November 5, 2002.
  16. ^ John M. Broder, "The 2002 Elections: Governors; Bright Spots, Amid Dim Ones, for Democrats", New York Times, November 7, 2009.
  17. ^ Chris Cilliza, "The Fix: Holtz for House: The Strange History of Sports Stars and Politics", Washington Post, August 4, 2009.
  18. ^ "Steve Largent", People, May 6, 1996.
  19. ^ Matt Richtel, "In the Hall as a Lobbyist After Time in the House", New York Times, March 22, 2004.
  20. ^ President & CEO Steve Largent at CTIA website.
  21. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Inhofe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district

November 29, 1994 – February 15, 2002
Succeeded by
John Sullivan
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dianne Baker
Junior Bridgeman
Pat Haden
Lisa Rosenblum
John Dickson Stufflebeem
John Trembley
Silver Anniversary Awards (NCAA)
Class of 2001
alongside:
Alpha V. Alexander
Archie Griffin
Steve Raible
Lee Roy Selmon
Wally Walker
Succeeded by
Richard C. Chapman
Maurice "Bo" Ellis
Herman Frazier
Betsy King
John Naber
Rodney E. Slater
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Keating
Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
2002
Succeeded by
Ernest Istook