Pat Summerall is hanging up his microphone.

The veteran play-by-play man, who has spent the last nine seasons covering National Football League games for Fox Sports, has announced he was ending his five-decade broadcasting career, effective immediately.

Summerall--who turns 73 on Saturday--informed the Dallas Morning News of his decision to quit after his agent and the network could not reach a deal regarding his schedule for next season.

The announcer had worked a full 17-game season schedule last year--including 10 games with the Dallas Cowboys, just a few miles from his place in Texas--and indicated he wanted to reduce his workload this year by only doing local Cowboys games so he could stay close to home.

But when Fox Sports wasn't game and insisted on keeping him in the national rotation and on the road, Summerall figured the time had come.

"It was a difficult decision to make, but it's the right time for me," Summerall said.

With the extra time on his hands, his agent, Sandy Montag, indicated Summerall would approach the Dallas Cowboys about the possibility of doing play-by-play for their local broadcasts. Additionally, he also plans to be a spokesman for The Football Network, a new 24-hour cable channel scheduled to kick off in the fall. He'll also work on a number of ventures for NFL Films and hopes to team up with Cowboys coach Bill Parcells to do a weekly sports show.

"At this point in Pat's career, he just decided this was the right time to stop doing national games and traveling," Montag told the Associated Press.

After longtime pal John Madden bolted for Monday Night Football last year, bringing an end to their 21 years in the booth together, Summerall lost his starting job on Fox's number one anchor team and was bumped down to do regional games alongside Brian Baldinger.

Summerall is perhaps best known for playing the straight man to Madden's jovial analyst when the two began covering NFL games for CBS in 1981. The duo was eventually wooed to Fox in 1994 and worked for the last time together at last year's Super Bowl.

Summerall is the all-time champ when it comes to working Super Bowls, having announced a record 16 telecasts.

Before launching his career in the booth, Summerall spent nine years as a tight end and place kicker for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants. CBS hired him to be an NFL announcer in 1961 and he took the ball and ran with it, becoming one of the Eye network's most prized commentators.

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