March 30, 2019 / 6:09 PM / 22 days ago

Shane Lechler officially retires; HOF next?

FILE PHOTO: Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler (9) celebrates after kicking an 80-yard punt during the fourth quarter of the team's NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Oakland, California, November 27, 2011. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach/File Photo

Shane Lechler, a six-time first-team All-Pro punter, has officially retired.

His former teammate with the Houston Texans, defensive end JJ Watt, posted a picture from Lechler’s Friday retirement party on Instagram, writing:

“This man is the greatest punter to ever walk the earth, but even more than that, he is one of the best people to ever walk this earth. You are truly one of a kind brother and last night was a testament to that as friends, family and teammates flew in from all over the country to celebrate you. And we’ll do it all again in a few years when they’re putting that gold jacket on you.”

Lechler averaged an NFL career record 47.6 yards on 1,444 punts and figures to have a shot at becoming the second punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Ray Guy.

Lechler was released by the Houston Texans in late August, nine days before the start of what would have been his 19th NFL season. He spent last season out of football.

Lechler, 42, spent his first 13 seasons with Oakland (2000-2012), where he earned each of his All-Pro honors, including as a rookie. He spent five seasons with the Texans.

Oakland selected Lechler out of Texas A&M in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

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