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Larsen suddenly living in the spotlight

11/19/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Spencer Larsen knew the secret all of last week.

He didn't think it was a big deal. And even more amazing, he wasn't that nervous about it, whether he was making history or not. However, in retrospect, the sixth-round pick of the Denver Broncos is blown away in the aftermath of his accomplishment Sunday in Denver's 24-20 win.

Larsen became the first player in the NFL in five years to start on both offense and defense. Baltimore's Orlando Brown stated on both the offensive and defensive lines in 2003. The Arizona product started at both fullback and at middle linebacker. Larsen, who has been a special teams ace as a rookie, also played on kickoff coverage.

Yes, No. 46 was busy Sunday. He was on the field for 60-plus plays.

Still, the enormity of his feat didn't hit Larsen until this week.

"I really didn't think it was going to be a big deal," Larsen said Wednesday as first place Denver prepares for visiting Oakland on Sunday.

"I wasn't nervous. I was just preparing for the game and making sure I knew everything I had to do. It really wasn't that big of a deal until after the game. It has gotten a lot of attention and it's been fun. But to me, I was just a rookie trying to help my team."

Yet, Larsen's double duty made national news. After all, this isn't high school. Two-way play just doesn't happen much in the NFL. Larsen has conducted several national interviews and has received phone calls from many people he hadn't talked to in years.

"It's been crazy, everyone is really in to it," Larsen said. "It's been fun."

Larsen didn't play much at fullback but he did have seven tackles at middle linebacker in the win over Atlanta. He was told by Denver coaches of his extra workload early last week. No one in the organization publicly told anyone until it was disclosed shortly before kickoff in Atlanta.

Larsen, who starred at linebacker at Arizona, hasn't practiced at linebacker since training camp. He got a crash course last week because of an injury to starter Nate Webster. Expect Larsen to continue playing while Webster recovers in the next couple of weeks.

Larsen has been playing fullback most of the season even though he hadn't played there since high school. With fullback Peyton Hillis now playing tailback, Larsen is playing more in the backfield.

So will he start both ways again on Sunday against the Raiders? The new celebrity is being coy, which is the rule of the land in Mike Shanahan's tight-lipped world.

"I don't know," Larsen said. "It all depends on matchups and schemes and injuries ... I don't know if we'll see it again."

If Larsen does play both ways, he'll be more prepared for the uproar this time.

"Definitely," he said. "I know I wasn't last week."