Legendary Saints Kicker Tom Dempsey Dies at Age 73 from the Coronavirus

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 5, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 1970 file photo, New Orleans Saints' Tom Dempsey (19) who is missing a hand and part of his right foot, moves up to kick a 63-yard field goal in New Orleans.  The Saints of the late 1960s and '70s didn't win a lot. Give them credit, though: They sure jazzed up the NFL long before reaching the Super Bowl.  (AP Photo/File)
Anonymous/Associated Press

Former New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey, who once held the NFL's record for the longest made field goal, died Saturday of complications from COVID-19.

Per Ramon Antonio Vargas of NOLA.com, Dempsey's family released the news about the 73-year-old, who tested positive for the disease March 25.

Dempsey was living at the Lambeth House retirement community in New Orleans. Per Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times, 53 members at Lambeth had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, and 13 had died.

Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot and wore a flat-front shoe for kicking, is best known for his 63-yard field goal to give the Saints a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions in November 1970. His boot beat the previous league high by six yards.

Dempsey's record was tied (but never broken) thrice before the Denver Broncos' Matt Prater nailed a 64-yarder in 2013.

He kicked in the NFL from 1969 from 1979 for the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills.

After his career ended, Dempsey held a few different jobs, including working as a football coach for Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana.

Dempsey announced in 2012 that he had been diagnosed with dementia. Per Vargas, the final years of his life were spent at Lambeth.

Dempsey is survived by his wife Carlene; his children Toby, Meghan and Ashley; his sister Janice Dempsey; and his grandchildren Dylan, Logan and Quinn.


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