Before the Bolts were on the clock in the sixth round, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco made a difficult phone call.
Knowing the team was set to draft punter Drew Kaser out of Texas A&M, Telesco called veteran punter Mike Scifres to let him know the team was releasing him.
“Before we sent the pick in, I called Mike on the phone and told him our plan was we were going to draft a punter with this pick and that we’re going to release him,” said Telesco. “I told him how thankful we were for what he did for this community, number one. Number two, as a punter and a football player, he’ll probably go down as the best punter in this organization’s history. He’s a great person. I have a lot of respect for him as a professional. It was a tough phone call to make but we just felt like it was the time.”
Scifres was one of the longest-tenured Chargers on the roster spending 13 seasons in San Diego. As a fifth round pick (No. 149 overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft, he went on to play 195 games for the Bolts. He notched 756 punts with an average of 45.2 yards per punt which makes him the franchise’s all-time leader for career punting average.
The adage of football being a business gets thrown around, but like when Scifres took over for former Chargers punter Darren Bennett, Kaser will get his chance to do the same. Head Coach Mike McCoy mentioned how Scifres was not only a true professional on the phone, but he will remain one of the Chargers’ greatest players of all time.
“I’ll say this; I want to personally thank Mike,” McCoy said. “The first three years I’ve been here, if you look at other players on the team, the Philip Rivers, the Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd (and) guys like that; you look at someone like Mike Scifres and put him in that conversation. What he’s done for this organization; he’s a true pro. Guys from here on out ask me, ‘What does it mean to be a San Diego Charger?’ And I’ll point to Mike Scifres. What he’s given to this organization for the past 13 years, we can’t thank him enough. This is the tough part of the job and talking to him on the phone, what a great guy. All he could do was thank the Spanos family but he understands the business. He’s a true pro. So thank you Mike, we’re going to miss you, buddy.”