Ted Larsen ’09 has spent his life in college and professional football protecting the quarterback. At NC State, the Florida native switched from playing on the defensive line to snapping the ball from center. His success at that position landed him in the NFL as a sixth-round draft of the New England Patriots in 2010.
Now Larsen, 25, protects Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman as a right guard on the Bucs’ offensive line.
“It’s the closest relationship between a QB and lineman I’ve had,” Larsen says.
But in April 2011, Larsen’s role as protector took on a life away from football. He and his girlfriend were fishing off the coast, enjoying a Florida afternoon. They received a distress signal and realized that they were close to the people who needed help. They traveled about a mile and came upon a couple of high school kids whose kayak had overturned. So Larsen used his boat to take the somewhat stunned kids and the kayak to shore.
“We were just in the right place in the right time,” Larsen says. “That’s the code of being out there. If you see someone in need, you kind of help them out.”
Everybody who goes out on the water has a similar story, he says. Larsen downplays his heroism, saying the incident has been blown out of proportion.
But when asked about this year’s Wolfpack football team, he addresses a familiar topic.
“I’d like to see them step it up a little,” he says. “I feel they have a lot of tools. They have to protect.”
Larsen and the Buccaneers take on the Washington Redskins Sunday in Week 4 of the NFL.