1973 topps larry kaminskiCenter Larry Kaminski played for the Denver Broncos from 1966-1973.  He blocked for hall of fame running back, Floyd Little, and earned a spot in the 1967 AFL All-Star Game.  After retiring from football, Kaminski had an Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  He took a some time last week to respond to some email interview questions.

Q – What did you enjoy the most about being a professional football player?

A – I enjoyed the pro game because it gave me a chance further my skills and compete against some excellent football players.

Q – What did you enjoy the least about being a professional football player?

A – I enjoyed the competition, the team camaraderie, setting goals as a group, enjoying the satisfaction of achieving the goals, and just playing a great game.

Q – What was the hardest collision that you were involved in during a game?

A – Being a center, you did not collide but the head slap by Dan Birdwell was a killer…I could not chew for a few days because my jaw was so out-of-place.

Q – What AFL player impressed you the most, and why?

A – During my tenure, I felt that Rich Jackson and Dave Costa were two of the best. Tom Keating was a quick nose and with a competitive nature. Nick Buoniconti was fast and quick to the hole. Curly Culp just very strong.

Q – At the time, did you personally want to merge with the NFL, or continue to have two leagues?  Why?

A – The merger was a good thing for the owners but not the players. The salary levels were kept down. They finally have given the players a better deal in the modern system.

Q – Which opponent (player or team) personally gave you the greatest challenge?  Why?

A – Houston Antwine and Jim Hunt gave me fits…

Q – What was the single most important moment (to you) in your career?  Why?

A – In 1973, we finally had a winning season after 7 long years of losing. It was a great moment of gratification to make it through several coaching changes and many guys trying to get my job to have been part of the Bronco milestone. We won, in spite of John Ralston being the worst coach I had experienced in my 19 years of football at all levels.

Q – Was it hard to leave the game?  What do you miss the most?

A – It was time for me to retire. Not being the biggest center, my back was shot and it was causing problems. That, along with losing my long snap made it necessary to have a snapper so the hand writing was on the wall that I had maybe one year left so I gave it up for an opportunity to get into the beer business. You can never replace the adrenalin rush of the game, the excitement, the intensity, the brutality, and the locker room. My lasting friends were the men I played with that never judged me but just were good loyal friends. You can never replace a coach like Lou Saban, Whitey Dovell, Stan Jones, or Sam Rutigliano. These guys were men who cared and made decisions based on talent not trying to kiss someone’s back-end to please the organization.