Home / Larry's Blog / A ROOKIE IN PATRIOT LAND


Seems like just yesterday I was standing on the Boston Patriots (as they were known then) opposing sideline waiting for the Star Spangled Banner to play.  I was a bit mesmerized while watching several retired, but not forgotten, Patriot players being introduced one-by-one before the game.  Walt Cudzick, Tommy Addison, Ron Burton and many others were being honored by the Patriots organization.  


I watched a line forty yards long of old pro’s standing on the field, each one smiling and waving.  The crowd roared!  I realize now, of course, they weren’t that old but they seemed so, at the time, to this 21-year old rookie.  They had just ended successful careers with an already established organization and I was just beginning with a brand new expansion franchise.

At this moment, it crossed my mind if, one day, some of us Dolphins might be doing the same thing before a future game in South Florida – lining up on the field as old pro’s, receiving honors from our team and booming accolades from our fans.   Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to do this very thing with several teammates and other ex-Dolphin players.  The Dolphins organization has always remembered, honored and given much consideration to its Alumni.

This Sunday, I’ll be on the field again with many of our Miami Dolphin Hall of Famer’s as we each receive our Hall of Fame rings.  So much has changed from our early years with the Dolphins…. yet many things seem the same.  Our Dolphin fans are just as passionate and intense as they were in my era…just as the Boston Patriot fans were that day in 1968.  Both, Dolphin and Patriot fans, share much respect and admiration for the long, significant history of their teams.

Thank you!


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Showing 20 comments
  • Joe chindamo

    Larry left a mark with running abilities. He payed hard nose football with class. That’s why he became a total player .

  • William

    Love all your writings Larry!
    We fans can only hope that you ora, and abilities rub off onto the Dolphin players. Congrats on the much well deserved ring ceremony! Have a great New Year!

  • Ken Bryan

    I remember you signing one of the Burger King soda cups with your picture on it at the one on 441 near 84 in Ft Lauderdale back around 72. My wife and I love Goodrich seafood restaurant in Oak Hill where both the food and staff are great

  • Jerry Janke

    Nicely stated. It’s nice when a player has all the appreciation for the fans that the fans have for him. Congratulations on impending Hall of Fame ring.

  • Lance

    I always tried to play with your intensity, then coached others to play with your intensity. Thank you for the model to follow.
    Lance (Mims, Fl)

  • Gary

    Congratulations on your HOF Ring Ceremony Zonk! It feels good for the team to be in the hunt again as I’m sure you’d agree. I bet it gets your competitive juices flowing every time you’re back on the field for one of these ceremonies. I know you’ve probably been asked hundreds or even thousands of times about moments in your career but I wonder if you might post some lesser known stories or moments or games you recall that have a special place in your heart. I love hearing these as it’s always an interesting way of learning and connecting more with people I admire and I believe it shows the human side that we as fans never got to see much of. Thanks for listening, enjoy the ceremony and GO FINS!

  • Sharon Davis Fulks

    Larry we love you and loved seeing a gang of defensive players trying their hardest to take you down.Went to see you guys practice and have your picture with my two children in 1971,still have my autograph book with the whole team players signatures .Lifetime Dolphin fan

  • Dan Scanlan

    I was just a kid when I watched you running over the opposition. I watched Greise, Morris, Kickk, Mandich, Twilly, Scott, Matheson,& Nick. I was so happy for you guys and proud to be Dolphins fan. I have enjoyed your Outdoors programs. Bucket list is still Alaska! Thank you Larry for being a role model and all around great guy!

  • Paul Matheny

    Love my Fins! Zonk you were the best. Nobody ran the ball quite like u. Not even today!

  • Tim Harrison

    Love your page Larry. Only got to see you on TV except during your World Football League stint when your team came to San Antonio TX. Your team ran up the isle I was seated in. What a thrill for me to see you in person. Now I’m just an old (67) retiree living in San Antonio hoping for our Phins to get into the playoffs and maybe Super Bowl. God bless Larry thanks for your Dolphin days and being you.

  • William Murphy

    Thank You, Larry !! You helped make the Dolphins what they are today.

  • Gregory Byington

    Yes We Are Larry ,since I was a lil boy some 47 yrs ago still rooting for The Fins , my Son who is 19 now is a Dolphan as was my Father , I’m also from Ohio ,Sandusky I live in Canton now Thanks

  • Alex Russo

    Nicely put, Mr. Czonka. I’ve been a life-long Dolphins’ fan (44 years now) and I appreciate all that you’ve done to make the team great! Your accolades are well deserved. Congratulations on your success and for making this Dolphin fan happy, especially when you played. God bless and Go ‘Fins!!!!!

    • Alex Russo

      Excuse me for putting a “z” instead of an “s” in your name. Too excited, I guess, to write to you.

  • Jake

    Mr. Csonka, I grew up in Carol City and was 15 years old (1968) when you were drafted by the Miami Dolphins. I routinely went to your practices at Biscayne College (which was later renamed St. Thomas University), NW 32nd Ave. I remember many times going to Mitzi & Ritchies little greasy spoon restaurant in the strip shopping plaza on NW 37th Ave & the Palmetto Expressway to get a bag of fries and often seeing Miami Dolphin players there, including you, eating the greasy hamburgers which were great and you all would even talk to us kids which was even better. Well, time has flown by over the years, I’m still a Dolphin Fan and I’ll be at the game on Sunday cheering them on against New England and clapping loudly for you when you receive your much deserved HOF ring.

  • Carmen Alvarez

    Wow Zonk! Congratulations on your ring. You probably did not know this but you had quite a following in the Cuban Community in Miami our parents didn’t know what football was but when you guys started the “Ultimate Undefeated Team
    Schedule” my Dad would roast a pig every other Sunday to celebrate the win. On Superbowl Day he roasted an 80 lbs.
    pig because “Sunka” was going to win it (my Dad was very bad in English). We all became Dolphin Fans until this day and I
    believe my Dad felt a little more American because he knew “futbol”.

    Thanks for the Memories Zonk!!!!

  • Dave Kozak

    Hi Larry, that was a nice sentiment from one of my favorite running backs of all time. I wish your organization had the same class you exhibited by your statements above. I’m sure some do but the cruel words spoken during the deflated ball fiasco and the spygate b/s was above and beyond, especially from a once respected coach Shula. Time marches on and look how quickly you went from a rookie to now expounding on social media to a legion of fans that can express back to you in a moments time. Best wishes from a distant fan and I hope a Happy New Year to you and yours. Dave

  • Curtis Smith

    Mr.Csonka I’m a fan since’71,I thoroughly enjoyed watching almost every game you and every Dolphin that ever played. I will cry my eyes out when Coach Shula passes.Will there ever come a day when the DOLPHINS again bask in SUPERBOWL glory?

  • Wayne

    Well said mr.Csonka God bless you

  • DonnieM

    Awesome in retrospect. I will be on the field pre game holding the flag. I was in awe of your ability and hoped to play a 10th as good as you. A young boy in 71 watching until you changed teams. I kept my 39 jersey until it shredded as I grew out of it. Its a boys dream to see his idol make another milestone. It will be an honor and privilege to be there and see you get your hall of fame ring. Flew in from California. Bring the spirit of 72 back to the team. Thank you for all the thrills and happy moments. May God bless you and your family.

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