He didn’t announce it. He only hinted at it.
But the subtext was clear.
Mike Alstott may be retiring soon.
Alstott appeared on WDAE-radio in Tampa on Wednesday morning to promote an upcoming charity event and was asked about his future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Alstott, 33, spent the entire 2007 season on injured reserve with a neck injury, the second time in five years the beloved “A-Train” has missed time due to a neck injury.
He said the final decision has not been made on his future. But there were definite hints that he is seriously contemplating retirement.
''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. I can't go have more surgeries; it wouldn't be worth it. 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].''
They were not the words of a person with football on their mind.
Alstott had surgery on his injured neck in 2003, as doctors removed a compressed disc and replaced it with the vertebrae from a cadaver. A titanium plate was used to fuse it together.
In August Alstott learned that there was stress to his neck above the previously injured area and doctors recommended that he not play, leading to a tearful press conference at One Buc Place that had the feel of a retirement address and not a “we’ll see you next year” address.
Alstott said he wasn’t sure what his future in football would be if he was no longer playing. He hinted that he might accept a similar role to Shelton Quarles, who is now in the Bucs’ scouting department.
Alstott said he had not spoken to the Bucs about his future yet.
''I really don't know what's going to happen even with football right now,'' Alstott said.
Alstott is an unrestricted free agent but has never hinted that he would play for another team in the NFL.
Should he retire, the A-Train would leave the Bucs with most of their key rushing records, including total touchdowns (71) and rushing touchdowns (56), along with second in total rushing yards (5,088 yards). He was also named to six straight Pro Bowls.
Bucs general manager Bruce Allen is scheduled to speak to the media on Thursday.
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Listen to Bucsblitz.com’s Matthew Postins every Tuesday with former Buccaneers linebacker Scot Brantley on WHBO 1470 ESPN Radio in Tampa and Clearwater from 3-6 p.m. If you miss the show, check out Bucsblitz.com’s exclusive team media center for Postins’ archived appearances.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for Bucsblitz.com and the Charlotte (Fla.) Sun-Herald. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and his coverage of the Buccaneers has won numerous state and national awards.