By the time he retired in 1989 Steve Largent was considered by many to be the best wide receiver to play in the NFL since Don Hutson and some even argued that since he broke Hutson’s career touchdown record that he was even better. At 5-11 and 187 pounds Steve Largent wasn’t built like your typical pro wide receiver of the 1980’s, he isn’t tall and he definitely isn’t fast but what he lacked in pure physical and athletic ability he more than made up for with his intelligence and sheer determination to succeed in a league where most people thought he didn’t stand a chance.
Although he had a quite successful college career with Tulsa that saw him develop into one of the best receivers in the conference his lack of the physical attributes that were considered necessary to be an effective receiver in the NFL led to his fall all the way to the fourth round in the 1976 draft where he was finally selected by the Houston Oilers. After he failed to impress through four initial preseason games the Oilers traded Largent to the Seattle Seahawks, who were in their first season in the NFL, for an 8th round pick in the 1977 draft. Unfortunately for the Oilers, by the end of the 1976 seas they would realize that they had made a terrible mistake. In his first season in the NFL Steve Largent put up more than respectable numbers for the Seahawks, catching a total of 54 passes for 705 yards and 4 touchdowns. In comparison, Houston used the 8th round pick in the 1977 NFL draft that they received from the Seahawks for Largent on Steve Davis, a wide receiver from Georgia not even with the team the following year.
In his rookie season with the Seahawks Steve Largent was also paired with the man that would play a huge role in his early success, qurterback Jim Zorn. Like Largent, Zorn was a rookie in 1976 and he also made his entrance to the NFL with less than stellar expectations. The quarterback and receiver duo would grow together over the years and would eventually become one of the best known quarterback and receiver tandems in the league.
In his second year with the Seahawks Largent’s production took a dip but he rebounded with a breakout season in 1978, compiling an AFC leading 71 receptions for 1,168 yards and 8 touchdowns. 1978 would be the first of Steve Largent’s eight 1,000 yard seasons that he would compile during his career. His performance in 1978 also earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl, making him the first Seattle Seahawk to achieve the honor. from 1978 to 1981 Steve Largent put up one stellar statistical season after another, a run that would only end after the league went on strike in 1982.