Mike Alstott hasn’t played his final game as a Buccaneer.
PewterReport.com is reporting that the six-time Pro Bowl fullback has put off retirement to play an 11th season for the Buccaneers, who agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Alstott on Friday night. The deal is expected to be finalized on Saturday.
Alstott, 32, had the final three years of his contract voided this offseason due to a playing-time clause in his contract, which meant he was set to become an unrestricted free agent on the first day of the new league year.
With free agency tentatively scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday, Alstott’s agents, Ben Dogra and Jim Steiner, and Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, worked together to come to an agreement on a contract that both sides were comfortable with.
The re-signing of the “A-Train” practically guarantees Alstott the opportunity to retire a Buccaneer after the 2006 season. The only other active player on Tampa Bay’s roster to have a longer tenure with the Bucs than Alstott is linebacker Derrick Brooks, who reworked his contract a few days ago in an effort to help the team free up salary cap room and afford him the opportunity to retire with the same team that drafted him back in 1995.
Alstott originally entered the league in 1996 as a second-round draft pick out of Purdue. In 10 seasons with Tampa Bay, Alstott has rushed for 4,917 yards, which is second best behind running back James Wilder (5,957 yards).
The 6-foot-1, 248-pound Alstott ranks first in franchise history with 68 career touchdowns (55 rushing). He’s also hauled in 284 career passes for 2,199 yards during his 10-year career.
In January of 2003, Alstott scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl XXXVII en route to a 48-21 win over the Oakland Raiders. The Buccaneers are 44-11 when Alstott scores.
Injuries temporarily derailed Alstott’s career over the past few years. He was sidelined for 14 regular season games from 2003-04, and 12 of those missed games came as a result of the serious neck injury he sustained while violently colliding with wide receiver Joe Jurevicius’ knee in Week 2 of the ’03 regular season. That injury required season-ending surgery and threatened his career, but the “A-Train” got back on track last season.
While serving as the primary lead blocker for rookie running back Cadillac Williams, who earned NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, Alstott proved to be a valuable weapon in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
He rushed just 34 times for 80 yards in 2005, but Alstott got the ball into the end zone on six of those carries. Alstott also caught 25 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown last season, giving him a total of seven touchdowns on the year, which was second-best on the team behind wide receiver Joey Galloway (10).
Alstott, who is considered a team leader, will likely have a similar role in head coach Jon Gruden’s offense in 2006, which is expected to be his final season in the NFL.
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