Today in Patriots History
'In The Line of Duty'
'In The Line of Duty'
In memory of Larry Carwell, who would have been 77 today
Born August 5, 1944 in Vada, Georgia
Patriot CB, 1969-1972; uniform #41
Acquired in a seven player trade with the Oilers on March 24, 1969
Died January 9, 1984 at the age of 39
Larry Carwell was a third round draft pick by the Oilers in 1967, out of Iowa State. After two seasons there he was part of a blockbuster trade between Boston and Houston. Two months after the 'common' (combined AFL and NFL) 1969 draft, the Oilers sent Carwell, RB Sid Blanks, MLB Ron Caveness and Charley Frazier to the Patriots in exchange for CB Leroy Mitchell and the Pats second round draft pick in 1970. Mitchell was an All-Star with seven interceptions the previous year, and just 24 years old.
The Patriots of that time were rebuilding and in need of upgrades everywhere. In 1966 they seemed destined to win the AFL East and possibly represent the American Football League in the first super bowl. But the Pats were upset on the final game of the season and the entire roster seemed to age and get slow at the same time, resulting in back-to-back ten-loss seasons. Boston was willing to give up a high draft pick and a budding star for four
players, but the plan did not work out. Blanks was an all star as a rookie, but had done next to nothing since then; he rarely saw any action behind Jim Nance and Carl Garrett. Frazier did score seven touchdowns in '69, but he was over the hill and had only nine receptions the following year. (If you are rebuilding aren't you trying to get younger, not older?) Caveness never played a single down for the Pats.
Larry Carwell was the only one of the four that made the trade worthwhile. He was a four-year starter for the Patriots at left corner, from '69-'72 in a period of time when there was not much support from either the pass rush or from the offense. Carwell had ten interceptions (with one touchdown) for the Pats, and also contributed on special teams with 13 punt returns and two kickoff returns.
Remembering Larry Carwell
Larry Carwell was an exceptional Iowa State football player from 1964-66. He was also a huge success as a professional, playing six seasons (1967-72) in the AFL for the Houston Oilers and New England Patriots, collecting 14 career interceptions along the way.
A native of Campbell, Ohio, Carwell lettered three years at Iowa State as an outstanding defensive back. He tallied 127 tackles and picked off seven passes in his career. On Oct. 8, 1966, Carwell picked off two Kansas passes and returned the interceptions for 123 return yards. His interception return yardage that day is still a Cyclone school record.
Carwell started over 50 games in the AFL during his distinguished professional career. He had five interceptions for the Patriots in 1971 and returned two interceptions for touchdowns in his career.
Unlike today’s professional athletes, players in the 1970s were underpaid. They needed a second career to survive, and Carwell was determined and ready for another challenge.
Carwell entered the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in 1974 shortly after retiring from the pros. He soon became a special agent for the DEA, and on Jan. 9, 1984, Carwell, along with four Air Force servicemen, died in a helicopter crash during an anti-narcotics mission.
Larry Carwell was stationed in Houston with the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston Field Division soon after becoming a special agent. He was a Sunday school teacher for a local Baptist church and active in drug prevention and sports programs in the community.
Carwell was sent to Miami with the task of stopping drug runners in the Bahamas. During the 1980s, cocaine smuggling was at its peak and the Bahamas was a key link in the smuggling chain.
Just off the coast of the Bahamas, his helicopter developed complications. The aircraft suffered from a dual engine flame out and crashed into the sea. All five bodies were never found.
Carwell was 39 years old.