Mike Alstott: NFL icon whose career was cut short by a neck injury

Mike Alstott: NFL icon whose career was cut short by a neck injury

Mike Alstott’s career was defined by his raw power, versatility and unyielding spirit. He made an unforgettable impact during his illustrious career in the National Football League (NFL)

However, Alstott’s ascent to legendary status was abruptly halted by a neck injury and this ended his career prematurely.

Mike Alstott biography

Mike Alstott

Michael Joseph Alstott, born on December 21, 1973, is a former American professional football player who had a notable career as a fullback in the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons, exclusively with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Known by his nickname “A-Train,” Alstott played college football at Purdue University before being drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft.

Alstott enrolled at Purdue University for four years, during which he achieved the notable distinction of being the first player in the school’s history to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) for three consecutive seasons. He scored 12 touchdowns in his sophomore year.

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Alstott held the record for the most rushing touchdowns in Purdue’s history with 39, a feat that remained unmatched until Kory Sheets surpassed it in 2008. Throughout his time at Purdue, he maintained an average of 5.6 yards per attempt, culminating in a total of 3,635 yards, making him the university’s all-time leading rusher. Notably, he achieved the school’s highest single-season rushing record in 1995 with 1,436 yards. Alstott concluded his tenure at Purdue in 1995, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business.

Mike Alstott career

Alstott entered the NFL as a second-round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was selected in the second round as the 35th overall pick. From the moment he stepped onto the field, he made an immediate impact and established himself as a dominant force in the league.

While many teams were transitioning to using blocking fullbacks, the Buccaneers utilised Alstott primarily as a running fullback. Throughout his 11-year career with the Buccaneers, Alstott became known for his versatility and ability to excel in multiple roles. His powerful running style and exceptional strength made him a nightmare for opposing defenders. Alstott’s ability to break tackles and gain crucial yards in short-yardage situations was unparalleled and made him a valuable asset to the Buccaneers’ offence.

One of Alstott’s notable seasons came in 1999 when he rushed for a career-high 949 yards and nine touchdowns. He consistently displayed a remarkable combination of agility, balance and power, which allowed him to plough through defenders and gain extra yardage after contact.

Beyond his contributions as a runner, Alstott also proved to be an exceptional receiver out of the backfield. His soft hands and reliable catching ability made him a reliable target for Buccaneers quarterbacks. He consistently provided an outlet for dump-off passes and screenplays, often turning short gains into substantial yardage.

Perhaps the pinnacle of Alstott’s career came during the 2002 season when the Buccaneers achieved their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. He played a significant role in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl XXXVII victory, which took place at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. During the game, Alstott rushed for 15 yards, scoring the first-ever Super Bowl touchdown in Buccaneers history. Additionally, he contributed to the passing game by catching five passes for 43 yards.

Alstott continued his career in Tampa Bay by signing one-year contracts for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Despite contemplating retirement, he chose to remain with the team. However, Alstott’s 2007 season was plagued by neck problems, and he was placed on injured reserve, leading to his retirement on January 24, 2008.

Before his retirement, Alstott appeared in a television commercial for ESPN Fantasy Football alongside former teammate Warrick Dunn in the summer of 2007. This occurred shortly before Alstott’s season-ending neck injury, which ultimately marked the end of his career.

Recognised as a powerful player, Alstott was ranked number 10 on the NFL Network’s list of “Top Ten Power Backs”. He also achieved significant milestones with the Buccaneers, breaking the franchise’s touchdown record previously held by running back James Wilder. Alstott scored his 47th career touchdown, surpassing Wilder’s mark of 46, on November 26, 2001. He remained the Buccaneers’ all-time leading touchdown scorer until November 22, 2021, when wide receiver Mike Evans scored his 72nd touchdown as a Buccaneer.

Off the field, Alstott has been actively involved in charitable endeavours. He established the Mike Alstott Family Foundation, which aimed to assist and support various charitable organizations in the Tampa Bay area. His commitment to giving back to the community further solidified his status as a beloved figure both on and off the field.

In recognition of his outstanding career, Alstott has been inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor in 2015.

Mike Alstott stats

Mike Alstott in action for his team

Alstott’s statistics provide further evidence of his excellence and impact on the field throughout his NFL career. Scroll through some of his key statistical highlights from his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Rushing Yards: Alstott accumulated a total of 5,088 rushing yards over his career. This places him second on the Buccaneers’ all-time rushing list, behind only James Wilder.
  • Rushing Touchdowns: Alstott’s ability to find the end zone was exceptional. He scored an impressive 58 rushing touchdowns during his tenure with the Buccaneers, setting a franchise record that still stands to this day.
  • Receiving Yards: Alstott showcased his versatility as a receiver out of the backfield. He amassed 2,284 receiving yards.
  • Receiving Touchdowns: Alstott’s knack for finding the end zone extended to his receiving ability as well. He recorded 13 receiving touchdowns.
  • Total Touchdowns: Alstott’s ability to score touchdowns was a significant asset for the Buccaneers’ offence. He holds the franchise record for the most total touchdowns, with an impressive 72 scores (58 rushing touchdowns and 13 receiving touchdowns).
  • Pro Bowl Selections: Alstott’s impact on the field was recognised by his peers as he earned six Pro Bowl selections during his career.

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Mike Alstott’s net worth

Mike Alstott in the field

Although Alstott’s net worth is not exactly known, it has been reported to be around $5 million, according to multiple sources.

Mike Alstott family

Mike Alstott with his family

There is limited information regarding Alstott’s parents and siblings.

As for his immediate family, Alstott was married to Nicole Alstott but they are now separated. They have three children: Griffin Alstott, Lexie Alstott, and Hannah Alstott. Griffin, their son, served as the backup quarterback at Western Michigan University during the 2017 season.

Mike Alstott age

Alstott was born on December 21, 1973. He is currently 49 years old.

Mike Alstott now

Mike Alstott as a coach

With his impressive career as a former NFL professional who achieved Super Bowl victory with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Alstott has a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer.

He is currently in his 11th season as the head coach of Northside Christian’s football team.

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