Miami Dolphins

Dolphins lineman buys teammate car for Christmas. Santa’s sleigh has more horsepower.

Miami Dolphins lineman Ted Larsen’s, left, contribution to the Dolphins’ Secret Santa gift exchange was a car - a 2000 Dodge Neon - and lineman Mike Pouncey claimed it for himself.
Miami Dolphins lineman Ted Larsen’s, left, contribution to the Dolphins’ Secret Santa gift exchange was a car - a 2000 Dodge Neon - and lineman Mike Pouncey claimed it for himself. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

You know those luxury car commercials where a happy mom or dad discovers a new vehicle in their driveway on Christmas morning?

Ted Larsen’s contribution to the Dolphins’ Secret Santa gift exchange was kind of like that — but with far more sun damage.

Larsen gave a fellow offensive lineman a car, but one few NFL players would be caught dead driving: A 2000 Dodge Neon, with worrisome brakes and peeling paint.

And much to his surprise, somebody wanted it: center Mike Pouncey, who has a small fleet of vehicles.

“I think he might just drive it for a couple of days to see if it blows up,” Larsen told reporters Thursday. “... Everybody sort of gives the same gift — iPad and grill — so I thought I would change it up. People actually like it.”

Yes, it was a gag gift, but there was some altruism behind it. Two of Larsen’s younger teammates, Zach Sterup and Sean Hickey, do not have a car in South Florida, so Larsen bought it, hoping one of them would claim the gift.

That’s what happened — until Pouncey, a star center making nearly $9 million this year, pulled rank.

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The 2000 Dodge Neon that Ted Larsen bought for the Miami Dolphins’ Secret Santa. Miami Dolphins

“Took it just for a toy, I guess,” Larsen said. “Add it to the collection.”

The hulking Pouncey, who was not available for comment Thursday, not only fits in the Neon, but took it for a ride before practice Thursday.

And how did Larsen manage to find such a prize while preparing for the Dolphins’ must-win game against the Chiefs?

A wholesaler.

“I just texted one of my buddies and asked, ‘You know anybody who can get me used car for about $1,000? They found a bunch of cars in a matter of time.

“It was just like a wholesaler,” Larsen continued. “They dropped it off this morning. I thought I was going to stick someone with a piece of crap car. Pouncey wanted it for real. If you see him driving around, watch out. I don't know how the brakes are on that thing.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey talks to the media after practice on Aug. 13, 2017.

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