When kids dream of getting into the NFL, they certainly do not
dream of the path taken by Ted Larsen.
Larson was originally drafted by New England in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of North Carolina State. Just five picks later, Tampa Bay selected S Cody Grimm from Virginia Tech. GM Mark Dominik found a way to get both.
When New England let Larsen go after training camp in 2010, the Buccaneers swept him up as part of the biggest non-draft haul
in Buccaneer history. By Week 7 of the same season, Larsen was starting and helped the team win 8 more games, just missing the playoffs.
Larsen was a starter when the 2011 season opened, but was replaced by veteran Jeremy Zuttah. When center Jeff Faine went down against New Orleans, Zuttah moved over to center and Larsen returned to regular duty at Guard.
In London, with Tampa Bay trailing 22-5 in the 3rd Quarter, Zuttah went down. With two centers down, Larsen moved to the middle -- the position he played in college. So, with 18:45 remaining in the game, Larsen and fellow 2010 rookie Derek Hardman entered the game at center and guard respectively.
Tampa Bay scored two touchdowns on their next two possessions as well as drove from their own 28-yard line to the Bears 39-yard line in what was shaping up to be a game winning drive. A turnover ended the comeback, but clearly the offense was clicking well with both Larsen and Hardman in the game.
We'll find out later this week who is healthy and who is not up front on offense. Josh Freeman shouldn't be worried, however. There are plenty of not-rookies ready to go.