Former Patriots linebacker and special teams player Larry Izzo was one of those hard-nosed football journeymen you can’t help but love.
Izzo was signed by the Dolphins after going undrafted and ended his career with three Super Bowls under his belt, and he was a Football Guy through and through; prior to his rookie season in Miami, legendary head coach Jimmy Johnson said there were only two players who were guaranteed a roster spot: Dan Marino and Larry Izzo (the second of whom was virtually unknown at the time).
That’s some pretty high praise.
When you take a closer look at Izzo’s career, a couple of things become clear: the guy had heart and would do whatever was necessary to win.
There are a lot of these guys like that in the world of sports—your David Ecksteins, Tyler Hansboroughs, and (on the other side of the spectrum) Michael Jordans. They love the game to the point where they’ll sacrifice their ego and their body for the betterment of the team.
Sometimes, these players are so tenacious and so unabashedly themselves that they start to develop a sort of legendary status thanks to stories that show how much they’re willing to sacrifice and how far their willing to go for the greater good.
Larry Izzo has one of the best examples of that.
Larry Izzo got a game ball from Bill Belichick for going to the bathroom on the sideline
In 2012, Larry Izzo had to go to the bathroom during a game (#2, that is).
However, as a special teams guy who would probably cut off his own pinky to touch the field if that’s what was required of him, he couldn’t risk going to the bathroom and coming up M.I.A. for a last-minute field goal. So, he did what any reasonably sane individual would do: he took a s*** on the sidelines.
Its seems like an insane move—and that’s mostly because it is.
After all, you’re in the middle of a stadium packed with tens of thousands of people and overflowing with cameras devoted to capturing every second of the action. There’s really nowhere to hide.
With that said, Izzo was able to do exactly that and do his business on the sideline without attracting any unwanted attention.
Now, you’d think that if you brought that development to the attention of famously no-nonsense coach Bill Belichick (a.k.a. Peter Gaffney), he would be livid. Interestingly enough, Bill apparently not only understood how Izzo’s will to win managed to put him in that particular predicament but respected his commitment to the point where he opted to present him with the game ball for not leaving the field to poop.
This hilarious anecdote initially came to light courtesy of former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who stated it was “100% true” during an appearance on ESPN (he added, “I guarantee that game ball is probably a more prized item for him than his Super Bowl rings”).
To further prove the validity behind the story, former Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin tweeted at NESN to lend some credence to the tale.
That’s one of those myths you read about and can’t help but laugh and respect the guy; I fully understand why Jimmy Johnson guaranteed Izzo a spot on the team.
The man would risk the embarrassment of going to the bathroom in public for the whole world to see just to stay out there with his guys. A true football mind.