Marching to his own drummer No pressure to be like dad: Broadneck High athlete Kyle Largent isn't trying to follow in the footsteps of former NFL star Steve Largent.

April 17, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Kyle Largent sits on a bleacher seat behind home plate at Broadneck High and listens quietly as the pass-catching feats of his NFL Hall of Fame father Steve Largent are rattled off.

The 16-year-old junior catcher for the Bruins proudly acknowledges the football accomplishments of his dad, who is now a U.S. Republican representative from Oklahoma.

But Kyle Largent prefers not to dwell on the 819 receptions for 13,089 yards that stood as NFL career records for Steve Largent before they were broken by James Lofton and Jerry Rice after Largent retired in 1989.

"I was 10 years old when my dad retired," said Kyle, who transferred to Broadneck from Metro Christian Academy in Tulsa, Okla., less than four months ago. "I don't remember much about his playing days. I don't think dad is as well known here as he is on the West Coast."

Kyle would like to be left alone to carve out his own path in life, be it on the baseball field, football field or in the classroom.

"I'm not trying to follow in my father's footsteps," said Kyle, who looks almost exactly like his dad and has a similar build at 6 feet, 175 pounds.

"People expect me to be a great athlete. But I don't feel any pressure in sports. I can't live up to the standards he set. My dad doesn't put any pressure on me. He'd rather me get good grades."

But Steve Largent said he is also ready at any moment to "put on a personal [pass-catching] clinic if Kyle asks me to. He knows I'm available. He marches to the beat of his own drummer. I coached some of the youth league football teams he was on."

Kyle insists that "football is not my sport. I'm better at baseball."

"I started out as a quarterback, but my high school had a guy who was better, so I switched to receiver in my junior year [last fall]," he said. "I'd say I'm an average receiver."

Will Anne Arundel County football fans get to see Kyle Largent play for Broadneck next fall?

"If I'm still here," said Kyle, who lives in Annapolis with Tim and Elena Coe, who are his father's friends. "My dad lives in Washington. I transferred to Broadneck because of the strong academics and athletics."

There was another major reason for the move to Annapolis and Broadneck from Tulsa, said Steve Largent.

"Part of the reason Kyle is at Broadneck is the opportunity to get out of his father's shadow," said his dad. "He feels no pressure consciously to measure up to what I did in football, but the pressure is there subconsciously. He can't get away from it in Tulsa [where Largent played college football]."

Steve Largent said his son might decide to return to Tulsa and Metro Christian Academy for his senior year so he can graduate with the class he attended school with for nearly 11 years.

Broadneck baseball coach Mark Stover has tried to downplay the fact that Kyle is Steve Largent's son.

"We [coaching staff and players] haven't addressed it at all," said Stover.

"I would rather take him as just a normal player. He is still feeling his way in our program. Right now he is struggling at the plate, but as a catcher he has good hands and a decent arm. Eventually he will hit. You have to remember we have played only six games, in cold weather."

Kyle Largent started the season batting cleanup for the defending state Class 3A champion Bruins and was impressive at the plate in the first couple of games.

But he has gone into a slump and didn't get to start in one recent game for the 3-3 Bruins, who are ranked 17th in the metro area.

Steve Largent has found time in his busy schedule to watch his son play "two or three times," said Kyle.

"He likes to watch me play baseball and would rather that I focus on baseball instead of football," said Kyle. "He was an all-state catcher in high school and was offered a four-year baseball scholarship to Oklahoma University but decided to play football at Tulsa."

Steve Largent thinks his son has "all the tools to play baseball at the college level, but it's up to him as to how much he wants it."

Kyle said his dad is much more likely to give him instructions in baseball, basketball, golf and tennis than football.

"He'll play football catch with me but won't tell me much because he doesn't want to interfere," said Kyle. "He's a great dad."

"I'm proud of Kyle for the person he is," said his father. "I have no expectations for him in sports. I'm glad he doesn't plan to go into football or baseball, because that is something only a few people can do."

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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