Born Broncos: Spencer Larsen was a rare two position starter

Former Denver Broncos player Spencer Larsen was a rare breed...

Denver Broncos
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Spencer Larsen was born March 4th, 1984 in Mesa, AZ. Before Larsen would become a multi-position chess piece in the NFL, he would star as a Linebacker in his formative years. After becoming a standout All-State Linebacker for Highland High School, Larsen would take his talents to the University of Arizona. In Tucson, Larsen would have a tenured, but unique route.

After his freshman season in 2002, he would not play in the 2003-2004 seasons. Instead, Larsen opted to do a two-year mission trip in Chile. This kind of selflessness and care for others would shine through when he returned to the field.

Career Stats for former Denver Broncos FB/LB Spencer Larsen

Years Played: 2008-2013

Teams Played for: Broncos, Patriots, Buccaneers

Stats: 41 tackles, starts at Inside Linebacker and Fullback

From 2005-2007, Larsen was a force for the Wildcats defense. In his senior season, he would lead the PAC-10 in tackles (131). Larsen would end his college career with First Team All-Pac 10 and Second Team All-Pac 10 recognitions. At the conclusion of his college career, Larsen would immediately make his mark in the pre-draft process.

His knack for being around the ball was evident as Larsen would become the Defensive MVP of the 2008 East-West Shrine Game. Larsen's playmaking ability was on full display among his peers in one of the top All-Star games. Unfortunately, this performance was not enough to warrant an early-round selection. Due to his older age (24), Larsen would slip well into day 3 of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Broncos would halt his slide, and he would join the team as the 183rd pick in the 6th round. Despite the late-round status, Larsen would quickly find himself as Mike Shanahan's Swiss army knife for the 2008 season.

Spencer Larsen, Thomas Howard
Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

A key special teams player, Larsen immediately impacted that unit from week one. While he would also get some snaps in at Inside Linebacker and Fullback, Shanahan's keen eye had bigger things in mind. Due to a rash of injuries, the coaching staff had to find another way to field their game plan against the Atlanta Falcons. It was this game in which Larsen would start at Fullback and Linebacker, becoming one of the few players in NFL history to start multiple positions in the same game.

In addition to his two-way duties, Larsen would also remain on Special Teams units. A true three-phase player, Larsen's toughness and selfless attitude would benefit the team as they beat the Falcons 24-20. His performance in all phases would earn him the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week award following the game. Larsen would finish his rookie campaign with 22 tackles and 3 starts at multiple positions.

Unfortunately, a coaching change following the 2008 season would result in uncertainty for the player. While Shanahan's replacement had a different mentality (to put it mildly), Larsen would continue to be a valuable member of the team in all three phases. He would spend the next three years serving as a Special Teams maven, sprinkling in time at Fullback and Linebacker. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Larsen would become a Free Agent.

He would sign with the New England Patriots, reuniting with a former coach in Josh McDaniels. In what seemed like the perfect Patriots signing, Larsen's skills were prime to be put to use in New England. Unfortunately, an injury during the pre-season would derail Larsen's lone year in New England. He would join the Tampa Bay Buccanneers during the 2013 off-season, where he would play the final year of his career. In his year with the Bucs, he would help in all 3 phases. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Larsen would hang up his cleats permanently. Today, Larsen is a successful Financial Advisor.

Beanie Wells, Spencer Larsen
Arizona Cardinals v Denver Broncos / Doug Pensinger/GettyImages

To sum up Larsen's career, it would be simply stated as versatile. In an era where players come into the league as "gadget" or "hybrid" talents, Larsen was truly a rare commodity in his era. A selfless, team-oriented player, Spencer Larsen was a three-phase player that gave his all with every snap. In a world where some coaches want "22 Janos", perhaps they should also be looking for 22 Larsens.


Spencer Larsen, here's a Mile High Salute to you. Thank you for everything that you've done for Broncos Country.

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