- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 2, 2008

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Jeff Feagles is so old, he graduated from high school before teammates Steve Smith, Danny Ware and Ahmad Bradshaw were born.

When Feagles punted at the University of Miami, Jimmy Johnson was his coach.

Feagles has been in the NFL so long, he has played for Buddy Ryan … twice.

“When I heard those rookies were born after I finished high school — that’s when it started to get a little comical,” Feagles said. “One of them replaced my jock with Depends in my locker.”

Feagles, a 20-year veteran now with the New York Giants, is joking a lot these days.

After appearing in 329 regular-season and playoff games, Feagles will make his Super Bowl debut tomorrow night when the Giants play the New England Patriots.

Feagles, 41, is the fourth player older than 40 to play in the Super Bowl, joining two punters — Mike Horan of St. Louis and George Blanda of Oakland — and receiver Jerry Rice of Oakland.

But those three players didn’t have to wait as long as Feagles for their Super Bowl debut.

Before this season, Feagles appeared in only six playoff games in 19 seasons and had advanced to only the divisional round.

“Year after year, watching it on TV, watching guys you had on your team make it, that gets kind of old,” Feagles said.

Feagles started his career with the Patriots in 1988. He punted two years for the Patriots, four years each with the Eagles and his hometown Arizona Cardinals and five each with the Seahawks and the Giants.

Feagles holds the NFL records for consecutive games played (320), most punts (1,585), most punting yardage (65,763) and punts downed inside the 20-yard line (508).

This season, his 36-yard net average ranked 25th in the NFL.

“It’s been hard work,” Feagles said. “Every year, you re-assess the situation, try to get better and I’ve been fortunate to stay healthy. That’s a big part of it.”

Feagles kept hoping he would make the Super Bowl.

“I always held out to get to the game,” he said. “I kept holding out, holding out and figured if I never went to one, I could always go when I was done playing.”

Feagles’ week started Monday, when he got off the plane with his video camera rolling.

“It’s not getting old — it’s been such a great experience,” he said. “That’s what I’ve tried to tell all these guys. If you’re fortunate to play as long as I have and you get to go to the Super Bowl at my age, you’ll be lucky.

“I don’t think the younger guys get it right now. Guys may play in this game and have a 10-year career and never get back. There are other players who will go 10, 12, 15 years and never get here. It seemed for years, the stars didn’t line up. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of luck.”

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