Friday, April 30, 2010
Giants' Feagles retires; NFL mark intact
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The oldest active player in the NFL has retired.
New York Giants punter Jeff Feagles announced his retirement on Friday after 22 seasons and a league-record 352 consecutive games.
New York Giants
- Avg = 40.7
- Blk = 0 Long = 59
"As an undrafted free agent in 1988, I would never have thought I could have played this wonderful game for 22 seasons," Feagles said. "I appreciated all the National Football League has given me. One thing I never did was take anything for granted in my career. I was always grateful to have a job and to be able to take care of my family.
"I always had a fear of losing my job and tried to always work harder than the next guy," he said. "I always wanted to be the best at my position and do everything I could to help the team win."
The 44-year-old Feagles signed a contract earlier this month to play another season, but he changed his mind in the past week or so after experiencing some physical problems while getting ready for next season.
"I just can't do it anymore," Feagles said. "My body is not letting me respond to it. It's time to move on."
Feagles insisted he has taken his last swing at the football, adding he is not about to pull a Brett Favre -- who holds the consecutive games record for a position player. He might punt with his four children, but that will be the extent of it.
Feagles has never missed a game in his career. He holds most of the NFL's significant punting records.
A member of the Giants for the past seven seasons, Feagles also has played for New England, Philadelphia, Arizona and Seattle. One of a remaining few directional punters in the league, he had a 41.6-yard career gross average and a 35.9-yard net average.
"Jeff Feagles has been a tremendous Giant," said coach Tom Coughlin, who called Feagles one of the greatest Giants of all time. "He was a guy I always knew I could count on, always knew exactly what was to be expected."
The Giants drafted East Carolina punter Matt Dodge in the seventh round on Saturday as an insurance policy. Dodge averaged 45.8 yards this past season. He was the first punter drafted by the Giants since 1997, when they took Brad Maynard in the third round.
The Giants also have former Australian rules football player Jy Bond under contract.
Feagles also is the Giants' holder on extra points and field goals.
Recently signed backup quarterback Jim Sorgi has experience holding and Coughlin said he would get the first shot at taking over those jobs.
Feagles was the NFL's second oldest player this past season, behind New Orleans' kicker John Carney. The now 46-year-old Carney was replaced late in the season by Garrett Hartley and now serves the Saints as a kicking consultant.