Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 19 News List

NFL: Bucs' Alstott announces retirement

AP , TAMPA, FLORIDA

Tampa Bay's A-Train has made his final run.

Six-time Pro Bowl fullback Mike Alstott announced his retirement after 12 seasons on Thursday, saying goodbye to the NFL during a tearful news conference in a meeting room where the Buccaneers played a highlight film of some of his most memorable plays.

The Bucs all-time touchdown leader spent the 2007 season on injured reserve with a neck problem that was not related to a career-threatening injury that required surgery in 2003. He held little hope for a return, but still had difficulty saying his career was over.

"Though mentally I feel like I can continue, physically I can't," he said. "The second injury to my neck will prevent me from playing football forever."

Flanked on a podium by his wife, coach Jon Gruden, general manager Bruce Allen and executive vice president Bryan Glazer, Alstott choked up on three different occasions while talking about how difficult it will be to not be around his teammates on a daily basis.

"If you needed a yard, Mike would get you two," said Glazer, one of the sons of Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer. "If you needed to grind out the game at the end, Mike was the man for you."

Arguably the most popular player in franchise history, Alstott was better known for bouncing off defenders and breaking tackles than as a traditional fullback whose job was to block for a featured runner.

He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl six consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2002, however his role in the offense diminished dramatically after Gruden arrived in Tampa Bay six seasons ago.

In 12 seasons, he rushed for 5,088 yards (4,652m), second on the Bucs' career list. He also caught 305 passes for 2,284 yards and 13 TDs.

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