Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – How many 40-year-olds still play in the NFL? The answer is very few, but Houston Texans punter Shane Lechler was on that list last year and will be again when the season starts.
Lechler may have some gray in his beard, and rookies entering the league might be nearly two decades younger than him, but he is still one of the better punters in the game.
“I know that there is somebody younger and cheaper that want’s my job, and there are only 32 people in the world that can do my job,” Lechler said when asked what keeps him going, before the J.J. Watt classic.”I got to stay on top of it and I take that challenge, and I love being in the underdog role.”
Lechler this season is going to enter his 18th year in the NFL, and he’s right, there is plenty of younger and cheaper talent, but the Texans elder statesmen hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down. Just last year he put 30 punts inside the 20-yard line and he had a 47.5-yard average, both good enough to be amongst the 10 best in the NFL.
Jokingly before the charity classic, Lechler shared, that he hopes in eight years when he finally retires Watt will continue to bring him back for the softball game.
Father time eventually catches up to everyone, and the Texans only have Lechler under contract for just this season, but with everything he’s proven over the past few years, it’s pretty hard to bet against him continuing to play at a high level, maybe for quite a while longer.