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Report: Legendary Saints kicker Tom Dempsey tests positive for coronavirus

Tom Dempsey's daughter tells NOLA.com the former Saints kicker, a resident at Lambeth House, tested positive but symptoms are relatively mild
Credit: The Times-Picayune
Tom Dempsey in 2010. Courtesy The Times-Picayune.

Tom Dempsey, the legendary New Orleans Saints kicker, has tested positive for the coronavirus, his daughter tells The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.

Dempsey, 73, suffers from dementia and Alzheimer's disease and is a resident at Lambeth House. The Uptown care facility has seen a cluster of COVID-19 cases. More than 50 residents there have been sickened and at least 13 have died in the past several weeks.

Dempsey developed symptoms of COVID-19 late last week, his daughter Ashley told Times-Picayune/Advocate reporter Ramon Antonio Vargas Monday. His test results came back positive Saturday, she said. So far, she said her father's symptoms have been relatively mild.

On Nov. 8, 1970 Dempsey set an NFL record for the longest field goal in a regular-season NFL game. His last-second, 63-yard kick at Tulane Stadium lifted the Saints to a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions and helped transform Dempsey into a hero in the city.

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 1970 file photo, New Orleans Saints' Tom Dempsey (19) who is missing a hand and part of his right foot, moves up to kick a 63-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans. Dempsey resigned himself long ago to the idea that he would one day see his NFL record-long field goal surpassed. Four decades after the kick, Dempsey has yet to be outdone. (AP Photo/File)

Dempsey's record stood until Dec. 2013 when Denver Broncos placekicker Matt Prater beat Dempsey's record by a single yard.

A native of Milwaukee who grew up in California, Dempsey was born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot - the foot that kicked the historic field goal. He wore a modified shoe with a flattened and enlarged toe surface. 

Dempsey played just one season with the Saints. His later NFL career included stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills.

Dempsey retired from football in 1979. He and his family returned to New Orleans. In 2013, he revealed he had been diagnosed with dementia.