The San Diego Chargers officially released Mike Scifres on Monday, parting ways with the most prolific punter in franchise history.
"I'm so grateful to have played my entire career for one team," said Scifres. "I'd like to thank the Spanos family, A.J. Smith, Marty Schottenheimer, Norv Turner, Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy, the athletic training staff, everyone in the front office, and all of the players and coaches I've been with at the Chargers for the past 13 years. It's been one heck of a ride and I wouldn't change anything. I would especially like to thank the fans for supporting me throughout my career. Chargers' fans are by far the best in the NFL and I'm sincerely appreciative of their loyalty throughout all the ups and downs. I'm a Charger for life and I look forward to supporting the team in the future."
Scifres totaled 34,152 career punting yards, which is the equivalent of more than 19 miles worth of punts. His 45.2-yard career punting average ranks first in team history and ranks 14th all-time among all NFL punters.
"Mike had an amazing 13 years with us," said Philip Rivers. "He was one of the guys, and his punting was a huge weapon for us over the years. He had a heck of a run. We will miss him."
A portrait of longevity, Scifres appeared in 195 career games, tied for the fourth in team annals. He booted 756 punts during his Chargers career, second in team history to Darren Bennett (771).
"There's nothing harder than saying goodbye to someone who has been so good for so long for us," said Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos. "Mike has been one of the best punters in the NFL for more than a decade, but he's also been a team leader and outstanding representative for our team. He has represented the Chargers with utmost professionalism and class, and it has been a pleasure for me and my family to get to know Mike, Stacie and their growing family. He may not put on a Chargers uniform anymore, but he'll always be welcome here as a member of the Chargers family."
Among punters with 750 career attempts, Scifres ranks fourth (45.2), his career net average (38.6) sixth, and his career percentage of punts landed inside the 20 (38.8) second. His 61 touchbacks and 328 returns allowed on punts are the fewest all-time among punters in the modern era (since 1976).
"We are thankful for what he did for this community number-one, and number two, what he did as a punter and a football player, said Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco. "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. I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future."
"Mike is a true pro," said Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy. "When players have asked me 'What does it mean to be a San Diego Charger, I'll point to Mike Scifres and say that's what it takes to be a pro. What he's given to this organization for the past 13 years, we can't thank him enough. He was everything you could ask for: a leader on the field, in the locker room and in the community."