Greg Larson, who played for Giants and earned Pro Bowl nod, dead at 84

 

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Greg Larson, a former NFL offensive lineman who played 13 seasons with the New York Giants and earned one Pro Bowl selection, died last month. He was 84.

Larson died at a Minnesota senior living home with his wife of 63 years, Joey, by his side on June 20, according to an obituary. The cause of death was not revealed.

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He was a standout offensive lineman for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in college and was a part of their 1960 national championship team. 

He entered the draft in 1961 and was a sixth-round pick of the Giants. He was also chosen in the 11th round by the San Diego Chargers in the AFL Draft but chose to go the NFL route.

Larson played tackle, guard and center with the Giants. He had most of his success as a center and earned a Pro Bowl selection in the 1968 season. He snapped the ball to the great Fran Tarkenton and blocked for Tucker Frederickson, Bobby Duhon and Ernie Koy.

Larson did not necessarily want to retire when he did in 1974, but his body’s response to knee surgery and his decision to open up a sporting goods store in Minnesota led to his decision.

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“If I hadn’t had surgery,” he told The New York Times in 1974. “I definitely wouldn’t have given retirement a thought and would have come back. But the leg wasn’t responding the way I would like, and I said last year if I ever had another operation, that would be it.”

He was also on the Giants teams that made it to the NFL Championship from 1961 to 1963, The team lost to the Green Bay Packers twice and the Chicago Bears the last time.

The New York Post noted that Larson was named as one of the top 100 Giants players of all-time after playing 179 games for them during his career.

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“He was our leader, our captain, one of the most popular players that we had,” Giants president John Mara said at the 100th anniversary event last month, according to the paper. “Just a great all-around individual. He really epitomized what it meant to be a Giant in that era.”

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