After suffering a second neck injury in 2007 that ended his season before it ever got started, Bucs fullback Mike Alstott never officially admitted that his football career was over in a press conference back in August. Alstott again avoided the word "retirement" in an interview Wednesday on "The Ron and Ian Show" on 620 WDAE, but he did drop hints that he has played his last down in Tampa Bay.
"You can read between the lines," Alstott said. "I've had some injuries; I have a young family; I can't be selfish in that regard."
Alstott had surgery on his neck after his first injury to remove a compressed disc in 2003 and knew the risks that he was facing to return to the football field back then. He made his return, however, and was able to play three more years. It seems that Alstott has come to grips with the fact that it's time to hang up his cleats for good.
"I can't go have more surgeries; it wouldn't be worth it," Alstott said. "I was disappointed I couldn't be on the field this year, but I'm having fun now. Right now my concentration is on [my foundation]."
Alstott is arguably the most popular Buccaneers player in franchise history and was a big reason for the team's turnaround. He was drafted by former head coach Tony Dungy in 1996 out of Purdue University and made an immediate impact. Alstott's hard-nosed running style earned him the nickname "The A-Train" and fans got used to the horn whistle going off in Raymond James Stadium every time he touched the ball.
Alstott holds the franchise record for rushing touchdowns with 58 and total touchdowns with 71. He also scored four touchdowns in the 2002 postseason, including a 2-yard score in the Bucs' 48-21 Super Bowl victory vs. the Oakland Raiders. Alstott made six consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and rushed for 5,088 yards during his 12-year career in Tampa Bay.
Alstott's best season individually came in 1999 when he rushed for 949 yards and seven touchdowns in leading the Bucs to the NFC Championship game. He and former Bucs running back Warrick Dunn were teamed up in the backfield in 1997 and gained recognition during their careers together with nicknames such as "WD40" and "Thunder and Lightning".
Number 40 was asked whether he was interested in taking a position with the Bucs similar to linebacker Shelton Quarles, who became a scout for Tampa Bay this season.
"I really don't know what's going to happen even with football right now," Alstott said.
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