Sports Outside the Beltway

Falcons Sign 46-Year-Old Morten Andersen

With the experiment of having Michael Koenen handle all three aspects of the kicking game a failure, the Falcons have brought 46-year-old Morten Anderson out of retirement.

Morten Andersen made the field goal that sent the Atlanta Falcons to their only Super Bowl in 1999. Now, as if repaying an old debt, the Falcons are giving Andersen a chance to become the leading scorer in NFL history. Never mind that only George Blanda was known to have been older when he played in the league.

In desperate need of someone with an accurate leg, Atlanta signed the 46-year-old Andersen on Tuesday after Michael Koenen flopped badly in his attempt to handle all the team’s kicking. “In my heart, I knew I could still play,” Andersen said.

He was already the NFL’s second-leading career scorer and adds the distinction of becoming the second-oldest player that the Elias Sports Bureau could confirm ever donned a uniform. Blanda was 48 when he retired from the Oakland Raiders after the 1975 season.

“Morten Andersen is one of the finest field goal kickers in the history of the National Football League,” Falcons coach Jim Mora said. “His outstanding career speaks for itself, and we are excited to have him rejoin our organization.”

Andersen, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, returns to the NFL after last kicking with Minnesota in 2004. He will handle extra points and all field goal attempts except those well beyond 50 yards. In a 23-year career, Andersen has played in 354 games — more than anyone else — and put up 2,358 points. If he shows he can still do the job, he’ll have a legitimate shot at the only guy ahead of him on the list: kicker Gary Anderson with 2,434 points.

Koenen, who made just two of eight field goal attempts in Atlanta’s first two games, will continue to handle the kickoff and punting duties. A change was expected after he missed four field goals — all from 40 yards and in — in a 14-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Andersen is the leading scorer in Atlanta history and kicked the team’s most famous field goal, a 38-yarder in overtime to beat the Vikings in the 1999 NFC championship game. He played with the Falcons from 1995-2000.

If anyone can do it at this age, it’s Andersen.

Related: Falcons’ Michael Koenen First Triple Threat Kicker Since ‘82

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