With tears in his eyes, an emotional Mike Alstott announced to fans that he had sustained another injury to his neck, and was being placed on IR. The injury is not the same one that he sustained in 2003 when he had to have his neck fused, but it has to deal with pressure on top of the fusion. Mike went on to say, "As a professional football player, you just can't grasp the situation of not being able to put the helmet on, put a jersey on, and go out there and participate with your teammates."
Mike had sat out the last 3 days from training camp, but the Bucs had been quiet about what happened with Alstott. He said that it was not one individual hit in camp, but was from the banging around in the first 10 days. Alstott went on to say that he was ready to play football this year and camp was going great until his neck was sore. Mike was checked by the Bucs doctors and also by his personal surgeon in Pittsburgh who did his previous surgery. After consulting everyone and his family, he made the decision that it was in his best interest to sit out the rest of the year. He will not have to undergo anymore surgery, which is good, but it is another injury to his neck.
When asked if he was retiring, Mike told reporters that the future was in the future and he would address that later and to please respect his wishes. It was a very emotional announcement for everyone watching and involved. Bruce Allen was visually upset and this was the most upset I have seen him in a press conference. While Mike has not said he is retiring, you got the felling that this was it for the A-Train. He will be around the rest of the year as a leader and will be there for his teammates. Every time reporters asked Mike about his future he kept referring to the team and his teammates. It doesn't surprise me that he wanted to focus on the team as that is how he played the game, a consummate team player.
Neck injuries are not something to mess with and Mike is making the best decision to shut it down. As a fan it hurts to not see Mike out there, but it is the best thing for Mike and his future. While not official, all bets are that he will be retiring later on this year. This is a very sad in day in Tampa Bay. The press conference brought many to tears and seemed surreal for those who are Bucs and Alstott fans. We will miss you Mike and like you said, You are a Buc and you will always be a Buc.