A month after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and coming off a season in which he was played for the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, Nate Kaeding has announced that he will retire from the NFL.
Some around here know me as a Nate Kaeding apologist. I understood that Nate got nervous in playoff games and became more inconsistent, but I also appreciated that he admitted as much and took steps to try and improve his kicking in the playoffs (which he hasn't been back to since the disastrous Jets game). I didn't blame him, or hate him, for missing those kicks the way that many Chargers fans have and still do.
Everything I've ever heard or known about Nate Kaeding has been glowing. He's a good guy. He's a hard-worker. He's a "regular guy" and has no desire to be a star. He wasn't an NFL Kicker to be on TV or to be well-known, he was just good at it and liked working on the craft.
I never thought Nate really wanted to be the type of Kicker that hung around into his 40s, playing for a different team every year. He got his money, the NFL is done with him as a "starting Kicker", and he wants to spend time with his family.
Nate retires as the 4th most accurate Field Goal Kicker in the history of the NFL. He trails two active Kickers, Dan Bailey and Alex Henery. I'm not saying that I'm rooting for them to miss Field Goals so that Kaeding could be the 2nd most accurate FG Kicker of all time.....nevermind, that's exactly what I'm saying.
I hope this isn't the last we hear of Nate Kaeding, the person, even if he never kicks another football again.