"We practiced twice a day for an hour and 10 minutes, at the most, in the blazing sun. Bum gave us two water breaks. There was no way anybody could get thirsty in that time, but these guys were dying! Because we were hardly ever on the field, I couldn't get a grasp of the offense, and I was too immature to realize I had to study on my own."
After the fourth exhibition game Largent was placed on waivers. The Sea-hawks, a new expansion team, picked him up on the advice of Jerry Rhome, Seattle's quarterbacks and receivers coach. Rhome had been a Tulsa assistant when Largent was there. In return, Seattle gave Houston an eighth-round '77 pick.
But Largent's first day of practice with the Seahawks was almost his last. "Steve dropped everything," says Rhome, now with the Washington Redskins. "He fell all over the place. Jack Patera [then the head coach] pulled me aside and asked, 'This is the guy you've been raving about?'
"I went over to Steve and found out he had worn himself out traveling to Seattle. So I said, 'Look, I'll guarantee you'll make this team. I'll see to it you won't get cut.' And Steve said, 'I promise I won't do this tomorrow.' "
Sure enough, the next day Largent was his old self. Two weeks later, in the 1976 season opener, he came off the bench against the St. Louis Cardinals to make a spectacular diving catch. He also dazzled Patera with his blocking skills. Largent has now scored more points (493) and played in more games than any other Seahawk.
"If Seattle hadn't been running an offense I was familiar with, I wouldn't have made the team," Largent says now. "And I probably wouldn't be in football today. I've caught a lot of passes in my career. I've been consistent; I've never had a bad season. But I've always been in a system that has allowed that to happen. I've had coaches who were willing to throw me the ball, and I've had quarterbacks like Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg who will not quit practicing something until it is right.
"I'm not saying anybody could have come in here and done what I've done. But I'm not saying I'm a great football player. I've also been very lucky."
It is Monday night, the children have devoured their Popsicles, said their prayers and are tucked snugly into their beds. Terry settles into the sofa and says that bedtime, bathtime and mealtime are the only portions of the day when she realizes just how much work—and how overwhelming—four children can be.
It's quiet now in the rambling, rustic house, and it reminds Largent of a night at training camp last summer. Though he was living only a 15-minute drive from home, he was lonely for his family; he missed the kids. So he wrote postcards to his children, telling them how much he loved them and what he appreciated most about each of them.
"Kyle is really obedient. He listens," Largent says, smiling as he talks about each child. "We're fortunate he's our first, so the others can learn from him.