Hall of Famer Larry Csonka Rescued in Bering Sea

Larry Csonka, a star running back for the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s, was rescued by helicopter while filming an outdoor sports show in the Bering Sea.

Hall of Famer Csonka rescued in Bering Sea (AP)

NFL Hall of Famer Larry Csonka was among six people plucked by helicopter from a stranded boat during a harrowing rescue in the Bering Sea, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Csonka, his partner, and a film crew from his television show were not injured, but the boat was abandoned at sea, the Anchorage Daily News reported in Sunday editions.

Csonka was part of a group returning from filming a hunting trip on an isolated island about 100 miles west of Unalaska on Wednesday when their 28-foot boat encountered bad weather.

More on Csonka on his Hall of Fame page:

A a classic 6-3, 235-pound line-smashing fullback, provided the major rushing thrust in the Miami Dolphins’ vaunted ball-control offense when the team was dominating the National Football League in the early 1970s.

CsonkaA consensus All-America at Syracuse and the Dolphins’ No.1 draft pick in 1968, Larry contributed almost picture-perfect performances to Miami’s three Super Bowl seasons in 1971, 1972, and 1973. Csonka surpassed 1,000 yards in rushing all three seasons with his best production — 1,117 yards — coming during Miami’s perfect season in 1972. Larry earned AII-AFC honors four times and was named All-Pro in 1971, 1972, and 1973. He was also selected to play in five straight Pro Bowls, although injuries forced him to miss two of those games.


[He] startled the pro football world by playing out his option with Miami in 1974 and then joining the Memphis’ Southmen of the World Football League. When the WFL folded, he joined the New York Giants as a free agent in 1976. He enjoyed moderate success for three seasons with the Giants before returning to the Dolphins for a final 1979 season. Csonka’s final fling proved to be a success. His 873 yards rushing was his best since 1973 and his 13 total touchdowns and 12 touchdowns rushing both were career highs.

Going to a startup league was the only way for a superstar to have any leverage in those days before free agency. As much as I hate some of the effects of free agency (and its shadow, the salary cap) players were essentially indentured servants in those days.

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James Joyner
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