Legendary Saints kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with COVID-19

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FILE – In this Nov. 8, 1970, File photo, New Orleans Saints’ Tom Dempsey (19) moves up to kick a 63-yard field goal as teammate Joe Scarpati holds the ball and Detroit Lions’ Alex Karras (71) rushes in while Saints’ Bill Cody (66) blocks, in New Orleans. Dempsey, who played in the NFL despite being born without toes on his kicking foot and made a record 63-yard field goal, died late Saturday, April 4, 2020, in New Orleans while struggling with complications from the new coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 73 years old. (AP Photo/File)

Baton Rouge, LA (NBC 33/Fox 44)

A New Orleans Saints legend has died. Former Kicker Tom Dempsey died Saturday at the age of 73.

Though the New Orleans Coroner has not released an official cause of death, Ashley Dempsey said Sunday that her father, who’s lived in an assisted living home for several years after being diagnosed with dementia, tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Dempsey was known as the NFL kicker with no toes. He kicked straight on with a flat-front shoe that drew protests from some who said his kicking shoe gave him an unfair advantage. But Dempsey always said he was doing the best he could with what he had.

Tom Dempsey played eleven seasons in the NFL…the first two in New Orleans with the Saints. In his first year with the black and gold, 1969, Dempsey was a Pro-Bowler and the NFL All-Pro kicker. He would go on after one more season in New Orleans to kick for Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills.

Dempsey held the record for the NFL’s longest field goal for nearly four decades, a mark set when he kicked a 63-yarder for the Saints against Detroit in 1970.

Tom Dempsey was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1989.

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