Larry Csonka

From Academic Kids

Lawrence Richard Csonka (born December 25, 1946, Stow, Ohio, USA) was a punishing American football player in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Larry Csonka (pronounced "ZON-ka") emerged to prominence after being an All-American at Syracuse University, where the bruising fullback broke many of the school's rushing records, a number of which where held by the great Jim Brown. In 1968, he was a #1 draft pick by the American Football League's Miami Dolphins, and by the 1970s he became one of the most feared runners in professional football. Standing 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) and 235 lb (107 kg), he was one of the biggest runners of his day and pounded through the middle of field with relative ease. He was also incredibly sure-handed, rarely fumbling the ball or dropping a pass.

Larry formed a great relationship with running back Jim Kiick and the two were referred to as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Together with Eugene "Mercury" Morris, the Dolphins had one of football's best rushing attacks. It led the Dolphins to 3 consecutive Super Bowls in the early '70s, with Miami winning 2 of them. Csonka rushed for over 1,000 yards (900 m) in each of those years. During the 1972 season, the Dolphins became the only team since the AFL/NFL merger to go undefeated, and Csonka was an instrumental part of the success, rushing for a career best 1,117 yards (1021 m). The following season, the Dolphins won a second straight title and "Zonk", as he was known, was the Super Bowl MVP.

After 1974, he had a contract dispute with the Dolphins and became one of three Dolphins, along with Kiick and Paul Warfield, to jump to the fledgling World Football League. The three played for the Memphis Southmen, but Csonka and the others had minimal success. Csonka left after one season and joined the New York Giants in 1976, where he played for 3 seasons. They were not hugely successful, and he returned to Miami in 1979. He ran for over 800 yards (732 m), his best since their Super Bowl days, and scored 13 touchdowns that season. He chose to retire from football on that high note after the year was over.

Csonka was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and his #39 was retired by the Miami Dolphins in 2002. Since his retirement, he has become a public speaker and has hosted several hunting and fishing shows for Outdoor Life Network. Csonka is a member of the American Football League Hall of Fame. He was also an analyst on the popular syndicated show American Gladiators from 1990-1993.

Between 1985 and 1990 Csonka started spending time in Alaska, eventually spending most of the year in Anchorage. While observing the 1,161-mile 2005 Iditarod dog sled race he said, "when I was playing and practicing in that heat in July and August in Miami with shoulder pads on, it just vaporized me".[1] (http://www.sgvtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,205~29579~2751903,00.html).

He was named a member of the Super Bowl Dream Team in an NFL Films production.

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