Monday, December 8, 2008
Andersen, 48, hangs up cleats as all-time top scorer
COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Kicker Morten Andersen, the NFL's career-leading scorer, is retiring because of knee problems.
The 48-year-old Dane, who scored 2,544 points during his 25-year career, played for the Atlanta Falcons the past two seasons but wasn't able to get a contract this year. Andersen said Monday he has given up his search and his NFL career.
Morten Andersen cited old knees and lack of a contract Monday when announcing his retirement in his native Denmark.
"I realized I no longer can train in an optimal way because of my knees," Andersen told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "So I am retiring."
Andersen said that his knees were worn out after so many years as a professional player.
"It's not that I cannot kick, play golf or go bicycling, but it's not the same anymore," he said.
Andersen said that being a member of the Falcons when the team reached the Super Bowl in 1999 "was the culmination. It was the pinnacle of my career."
The Falcons advanced to their only Super Bowl after the 1998 season when Andersen's 38-yard field goal beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC title game. Atlanta lost the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos.
Andersen became the leading scorer in NFL history on Dec. 17, 2006 with a field goal during the Falcons' 38-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
He kicked for five NFL teams in 25 years, including 13 seasons for the New Orleans Saints, eight for the Falcons, two for the Kansas City Chiefs and one season each with the New York Giants and the Vikings.
A Copenhagen native, Andersen went to the United States in 1977 as an exchange student and played at Michigan State.
He said he decided to announce his retirement in Denmark because of the support he has received at home. Although the NFL gets modest coverage in the Scandinavian country, Andersen's record-breaking career has been a top sports story in Danish media.