Kicker Christie gets wish to retire with Bills after 1-day deal

Updated: March 6, 2008, 7:08 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Steve Christie finally got his wish, retiring as a member of the Buffalo Bills this week, after the team's most prolific kicker signed a one-day contract.

"Regardless of where I ended up playing following my career in Buffalo, I knew that I wanted to retire a Bill," Christie said Thursday, a day after completing his 24-hour stint. "My best years and really the bulk of my career was in Buffalo. ... So to retire here was not only closure, for me it was a necessity."

Christie's 15-year NFL career ended after he completed the 2004 season with the New York Giants, though he held off submitting his retirement papers until last year. The southern Ontario native broke into the league with Tampa Bay in 1990, and also played for San Diego.

It was during a nine-year tenure in Buffalo, which ended with his release during the 2001 season, that earned Christie the nickname "Mr. Clutch."

With the Bills, Christie hit 13 game-winning field goals in the final minute or overtime, four of those coming during the 2000 season.

His most memorable came in the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history. Christie made a 32-yarder 3 minutes into overtime as the Bills rallied from a 35-10 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in the 1993 AFC wild-card game in Buffalo.

Christie still ranks first on the team in career points (1,011), most field goals (234) and longest field goal, 59 yards. He also holds the Super Bowl record for longest field goal, a 54-yarder against Dallas in 1994.

"I was fortunate enough to play in two [Super Bowls], and to play with a bunch of guys that were characters, but also showed up on Sunday," Christie said. "And the fans have been extremely loyal. ... Yes, retiring with the Bills, is absolutely a nod to the fans and a thank you."

Christie joked that his one day with the Bills, which he spent at the team's headquarters, wasn't much different than when he was playing for the team.

"It was hilarious, because I walked into the equipment room and said, 'Look, I need sweat shirts for the next 10 years,' " he said with a laugh. "Retirement is a lot busier than it was when I was playing. Because when I was playing, there was all that dead time during the day."

The 40-year-old Christie still lives in the area, having a home in nearby Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, and another in Ellicottville, N.Y. He's taken up oil painting, selling some of his works for charity, and has also worked as a broadcaster for a Canadian cable TV network.

Christie did make one brief comeback last year, playing a game for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts after their kicker missed a game due to a concussion. Christie went 2-for-4, missing from 40 and 47 yards, and hitting from 32 and 10, in a 30-5 win over Hamilton.

"My first half, I'd rather not talk about," Christie said, referring to when he missed his two attempts. "It was kind of weird coming back. But it was for one game. And we won. So it worked out."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press