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New Orleans Saints Kicker Tom Dempsey Dies at 73 from Coronavirus

Busayo Ogunjimi
Apr 06, 2020
04:30 P.M.
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Tom Dempsey, a football legend who played as a kicker for the New Orleans Saints, has died. He passed away due to the current coronavirus infection, thus making him the virus’s latest high-profile casualty.

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The New Orleans Saints announced Tom’s death late on Sunday afternoon, in a tweet. The former NFL star was 73 at the time he died. According to the team’s announcement, he had fought off several ailments throughout his career.

Dempsey reportedly tested positive for the virus on March 26 after he had shown some symptoms of the ailment. He lived at the Lambeth House Retirement Community in New Orleans since 2012, and he’s been battling dementia for years now.

 Kicker Tom Dempsey #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1974 | Photo: Getty Images

Kicker Tom Dempsey #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1974 | Photo: Getty Images

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His daughter, Ashley, explained that he moved back to Lambeth House after he got his positive diagnosis. However, after a few days of medication, his condition alleviated. The only problem was that he lost his appetite, and his oxygen levels soon dropped too.

Soon enough, he passed away. The New Orleans Saints's statement explained that Tom lived an exemplary life and will be missed by all. It read in part,

“Tom’s life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations.”

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While he might not be popular amongst a lot of football fans today,

Tom was a solid player

in his day. Dempsey was born without fingers in his right hand or toes on his left leg.

To make up for it, he played with a flat, custom show that ended at the point where his toes should have been.

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In a period when the game seemed to be evolving, Dempsey stuck to his guns. He maintained an orthodox kicking style, and he was able to help come up for his team in crucial situations.

Tom’s NFL career spanned 11 years. In that time, he kicked 159 field goals. However, his most notable moment came on November 8, 1970. On that day, he kicked a game-winning, 63-yard field goal.

Kicker Tom Dempsey #10 of the Los Angeles Rams kicks off against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium November 16, 1975  | Photo: Getty Images

Kicker Tom Dempsey #10 of the Los Angeles Rams kicks off against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium November 16, 1975 | Photo: Getty Images

That kick was the single longest field goal in NFL history at the time, and it cemented Tom in Saints’ history.

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