Sports Outside the Beltway

Atlanta Falcons release kicker Jason Elam

Is this the end of the road for the 17-year veteran? From ESPN-

The Atlanta Falcons released the 17-year veteran on Tuesday, having finally run out of patience with a kicker who had been one of the NFL’s most accurate but struggled through a mystifying slump this season.

Elam was just 8-of-15 on field-goal attempts from at least 30 yards, a success rate that was simply unacceptable — especially for a team contending in the NFC playoff race.

“To be honest with you, when I walked off the field after the last three games, I thought that was it,” Elam told The Associated Press when reached on his cell phone. “I’ve always been able to kick myself out of these things, but it just wasn’t happening for me. It was a bad November.”

It was also an unceremonious ending for a 39-year-old kicker who is tied for the longest field goal in NFL history (63 yards), made more than 81 percent of his career attempts and earned three Pro Bowl appearances during a 15-season tenure with the Denver Broncos, helping them win back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1990s.

Elam signed with the Falcons last year, returning to the area where he grew up, and played a big role in Atlanta’s surprising run to the playoffs. He made 29-of-31 field goals and all 42 of his extra-point attempts.

As bad as 2009 was for Elam, I expect another NFL team to give him a shot. If not this year, then in 2010. Elam has had a very good career, and one off year doesn’t necessarily mean he is washed up.

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