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Steven Largent

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

Born September 28, 1954 (1954-09-28) (age 55)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Political party Republican
Steve Largent
No. 80     
Wide Receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: September 28, 1954 (1954-09-28) (age 55)
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
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1989
Receptions     819
Receiving Yards     13,089
Touchdowns     101
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Steven Michael "Steve" Largent (born September 28, 1954, Tulsa, Oklahoma) is a retired American football player, enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a former U.S. Congressman, having served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma from 1994 until 2002. He made an unsuccessful run for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002.


Football career

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. 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 3rd 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.

Largent also provided one of the most jaw-shattering hits in NFL history. In a game during the 1988 season, Denver Broncos Safety Mike Harden intercepted a ball thrown by Seahawks Quarterback Dave Krieg. While returning the interception, Harden took a blindside hit from Largent. Largent later said in an interview that the hit was retaliation in part for an illegal hit that Harden gave him in another game earlier in the season which knocked out two of his teeth.[1][2]

In 1989, Steve Largent became the first Seahawks player to win the Steve Largent Award for his spirit, dedication and integrity.[3]

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.

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; as of 2007 he is the only Seahawk to be so honored (although the team has retired number 12 in honor of the fans, the “twelfth man”). 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.[4] Largent remains the most prolific receiver in team history. On October 26, 2008 Largent's University of Tulsa number (83) was also retired.[5]

Political career

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 appointed Largent to serve the remainder of Inhofe's term in the 103rd Congress before beginning his term in the 104th Congress.[6][7]

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.[8][9][10] He served until his resignation on February 15, 2002 to devote his attention to his gubernatorial campaign. Like many of his colleagues of the Republican freshmen class elected in 1994 — when the Republicans took control of the House for the first time in 40 years — Largent's voting record was very conservative. Largent was one of the "true believers" in that freshman class. He devoted 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 one of his early bills would have abolished the federal tax code at the end of 2001. He opposed ending the 1995 federal government shutdown. Largent introduced a bill that would ban adoptions by gay and lesbian parents in Washington, D.C. He was later criticized as anti-Catholic due to his line of questioning of a House of Representatives chaplain in 2000, though he denied this.[11]

Largent himself tried to take advantage of discontent with Majority Leader Dick Armey by challenging Armey for the post. Armey was very unpopular in the Republican caucus, but managed to defeat Largent because Largent wasn't seen as a team player. However, the bruising contest all but ended Armey's chances of becoming Speaker. Largent decided to run for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002. He easily won the Republican nomination and resigned his House seat to devote all 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 in the three-way race.

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;[12]
  • Henry's support of cockfighting, garnering a last minute endorsement by rural cockfighting interests who turned out in large numbers as the legality of cockfighting was on the ballot;[12][13][14]
  • Largent's unfamiliarity with hostile press interviews,[citation needed] as he had been somewhat of a popular local celebrity in Tulsa. This led to a incident (publicized in a Richardson campaign commercial) in which Largent used vulgar language in responding to an Oklahoma City television reporter who wanted to know where he was at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was later learned that Largent had been on a hunting trip and didn't find out about the events of 9/11 until a day or so later.[13][15]

People magazine named Largent to its 1996 list of "Most Beautiful People".[16]

Largent became President & CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association in 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.[17][18]

Electoral history

Oklahoma's 1st congressional district: Results 1994–2000[19]
Year Democrat 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%


  1. ^ Q & A with Steve Largent,, October 1, 2002.
  2. ^ [1], "YouTube", March 11, 2009.
  3. ^ Booth, Tim (2008, December 19). Holmgren given Largent Award by players. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
  4. ^ Greg Bishop, "Hawks offered No. 80, Rice says", Seattle Times, October 29, 2004.
  5. ^ Mike Brown, "TU honors standouts", Tulsa World, October 27, 2008.
  6. ^ Biodata
  7. ^ Jim Myers, "Largent Takes Oath of Office", Tulsa World, November 30, 1994.
  8. ^ Current Election Results
  9. ^ General Election Results 11/3/98
  10. ^ General Election Results 11/7/00
  11. ^ David van Biema, Catholic Bashing?, TIME, February 27, 2000.
  12. ^ a b David Averill, "Eyeing another campaign: Richardson had impact on 2002 governor's race", Tulsa World, March 22, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Henry upsets Steve Largent in governor's race", AP at USA Today, November 5, 2002.
  14. ^ John M. Broder, "The 2002 Elections: Governors; Bright Spots, Amid Dim Ones, for Democrats", New York Times, November 7, 2009.
  15. ^ Chris Cilliza, "The Fix: Holtz for House: The Strange History of Sports Stars and Politics", Washington Post, August 4, 2009.
  16. ^ "Steve Largent", People, May 6, 1996.
  17. ^ Matt Richtel, "In the Hall as a Lobbyist After Time in the House", New York Times, March 22, 2004.
  18. ^ President & CEO Steve Largent at CTIA website.
  19. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

External links

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
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
Succeeded by
Ernest Istook

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