ELF: Leipzig Kings QB Michael Birdsong announces retirement

One of the top quarterbacks in the European League of Football, Michael Birdsong of the Leipzig Kings, has announced his retirement.

The 28 year old Birdsong suffered a tear in his Achilles during the 2021 season forcing him to miss a number of games and this has brought about his decision to step away from the game he loves.

Playing in only seven games with the Kings in 2021, Birdsong threw for 1,597 yards and 24 touchdowns while averaging 228.1 passing yards per game with a 62.4 % completion rate.

Needless to say, the decision was not an easy one for Birdsong to make:

Leipzig, I am here to officially announce my retirement as a player of this game. A lot of time and thought has been put into this decision. I can’t put into words how much this past season has meant to me. I’m honored to have been able to play for the Kings for my final season. However, my last few seasons didn’t come without setbacks. The injuries have taken a toll. Having played with a tear in my Achilles this past season and nearly escaping without the need of surgery, I feel I can’t put my body at risk for that again.

The 6’4″, 234-pound Birdsong from Matoaca, Virginia, arrived in Leipzig after spending three seasons playing for the Fujitsu Frontiers in Japan’s XLeague where he won two championships (2018, 2019) and was named league MVP in his final season (2020) after leading the team to the championship final. In his three years, he threw 39 touchdown passes while scoring another 11 touchdowns on the ground.

Playing at three different NCAA Division 1 schools – Tennessee Tech (senior year), Marshall (junior year) and James Madison (freshman, sophomore years) – Birdsong threw for 6,178 yards and 45 touchdowns while rushing for 766 yards and nine scores. He started at James Madison but a coaching change altered his status. At Marshall, he suffered a season-ending injury in his second game. He wound up his career at Tennessee Tech where he blossomed, throwing for 2,577 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Retired Kings’ quarterback Michael Birdsong during a game against the Panthers in 2021. ©Lukasz Skwiot

Leipzig Kings head coach Fred Armstrong commented on Birdsong’s decision to retire:

“[Michael Birdsong] was the ultimate team player who expected everyone to put in the work necessary for the Kings to be successful. And if you did not, Birdsong had no problem telling you to get it done. His skill at quarterback and being a student of the game speaks for itself, but the passion he put into his daily preparation to lead the Kings on the field game day was phenomenal”.

Read the rest of Michael Birdsong’s statement about his retirement below:

To My Teammates and Coaches: Thank you for the support during this difficult decision. Thank you for giving everything on the field last year and making my last season one that I’ll always remember. I’m sorry I couldn’t join you for one more season, but I have no doubt you will be successful.

To Coach Armstrong: Thank you for bringing me to Leipzig and becoming a dear friend of mine. I enjoyed every second of leading this team with you.

To The City of Leipzig: Thank you for being the best fans in the league and supporting us through the good, bad, and the ugly. The Kings will need your continual support.

To My Wife: You’ve been an amazing support from my first ever collegiate-level game through my very last season. I couldn’t have made it this far without you.

To The Game: The game of football has given me so much in my life. This game has allowed me to receive a college education, have amazing cultural experiences, and develop lifelong friendships. I wouldn’t trade my football experiences for anything in the world. Thanks again.

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