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.
“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?
“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.”