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Dempsey, who has been battling Alzheimer’s disease as well as dementia since 2013, once set the NFL record for the longest successful field goal of 63 yards back in 1970, but it has been surpassed since then. The current record holder is former Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater, who booted a 64-yard field goal in a game against the Tennessee Titans back in 2013.
“He is doing well but not out of the woods yet,” Ashley wrote. “Thank you everyone for your love and support. Please keep your prayers coming!”
Dempsey only lasted two seasons with the Saints, but he earned the respect of fellow teammates because he played through a disability. He was born without toes on his right foot or fingers on his right hand, and he needed a special shoe for kicking.
Despite the personal roadblocks, he was able to give the Saints one of their signature plays in franchise history.
“Any time you think of Tom Dempsey, your mind immediately goes to the 63-yard field goal that is still the highlight of our first seven or eight years in the league,” former teammate Jake Kupp told the team site. “That was just something that I don’t think any of us will ever forget.
“What impressed me so much about him is he never looked at himself as having any handicaps or any problems,” Kupp added. “Tom, in his mind, felt like he could do anything and he brought that kind of spirit to the team. He was somebody that we really looked up to and we really appreciated him.”