SI: Have you always been an outdoorsman?
Csonka: As a kid [in Stow, Ohio] I liked to be in the presence of the critters--pheasants, rabbits, groundhogs. I had pet hawks, crows, raccoons. If it was furred or feathered, I had one as a pet.
SI: In September, returning from a reindeer hunt in Alaska, you and five others had to be rescued from your boat in the Bering Sea after it encountered 45-knot winds and nearly capsized. Did you ever lose your faith?
Csonka: I was never at the point where I thought we were about to die. But I was at a point where I thought we would be in the water. We were thinking about [what to do] when the boat went over or upside down. And we did that all night, minute to minute, for 14 hours.
SI: You signed a football for the Coast Guard petty officer who rescued you. How did you inscribe it?
Csonka: THANKS FOR PULLING MY ASS OUT OF THE SEA. LARRY CSONKA #39.
SI: Are you worried about the Colts' matching the '72 Dolphins' perfect season?
Csonka: I know Archie Manning and met Peyton when he was just a little guy. I remember Peyton asking me about football stories. I said, "When you grow up, you'll make your own football stories." I didn't know the little rascal was going to have me concerned about my undefeated season. [Laughs.]
SI: Even while playing for the Dolphins, you were dreaming of being an outdoorsman, right?
Csonka: Coach [Don] Shula used to demand complete attention. He would get in my face and say, "I don't know where you are, but I know you are not here. Would you please tell me where you are?" He was right. Where I was was in a stream in Alaska.
• For more from Larry Csonka, go to SI.com/scorecard.
KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE.COM (CSONKA)
COURTESY OF OLN (CSONKA HUNTING)