Friday, February 24, 2006

Super Bowl XL found Steve Largent cheering for his old team, the Seattle Seahawks, from 34 rows up at Ford Field in Detroit.

A football star at the University of Tulsa, Largent spent 14 years as a wide receiver with the Seahawks. He was considered one of football's best pass-catchers and probably brought the most publicity to the team it has had until this season's run. He retired in 1989 holding several records, including most receptions.

In 1994, the Oklahoma Republican was appointed to a seat in the House. He stayed in Congress until 2002, when he left to run for governor. He narrowly lost to Brad Henry.

Today, Largent, 51, is the head of the wireless industry's trade group, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, based in D.C. On the day after the Super Bowl, he headed to South Dakota to lobby against taxes on wireless technology that he says are sometimes as high as the taxes state governments levy on tobacco and alcohol.

Comparing his three careers, Largent says his time with the Seahawks was the most fun, but he "developed a deep level of respect for our job and our country" while in Congress. He served on the commerce committee, which oversees the wireless industry, and says that what he does in his current job is "really everything I talked about being for -- a highly competitive industry that offers better and newer services for its customers."

"We have a lot of our states and even the federal government treating us as an old Bell landline company," he says.

Inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame in 1995, Largent was, of course, unhappy that the Seahawks lost in the Super Bowl, but he said he was "elated" they made it that far. He doesn't know what he'll do next, but says it probably won't include running for office.

-- Zachary A. Goldfarb

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