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Kicker Robbie Gould announces retirement after 18 NFL seasons

An illustrious kicking career has reached its end.

Veteran placekicker Robbie Gould announced his retirement after 18 NFL seasons on Thursday via an article published by The Players' Tribune.

"Now, although football has been a really great part of my life for the past 18 years, it is with the utmost regard and appreciation that I officially announce my retirement from the National Football League," Gould wrote in the piece, in which he recapped his winding NFL journey that saw him kick for three franchises (the Bears, Giants and 49ers).

"Will I miss it? Absolutely. The fire to play and to compete definitely still burns, and I'm not sure that will ever go away. As I look back over the entirety of my career, it's kind of ironic because the thing I'm going to miss the most isn't really even all that much about the actual game of football. I'll miss being a part of a football team. The plane rides, the pregame meals, the companionship, the locker room culture, the workouts, and the grind of one unit trying to accomplish a common goal of winning -- that part can't be replaced.

"As the football chapter, this 'good thing,' comes to an end, it also opens a door for new endeavors that come my way. Charity work is an integral part of my core values, and I'm looking forward to pursuing more opportunities to give back. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also thinking about all of the golf courses I've yet to visit. And in my book, a Little League position titled 'Coach Rob' has a pretty nice ring to it."

Gould began his career as an undrafted free agent signed by Chicago out of Penn State in 2005. He would spend the next 11 seasons in a Bears uniform, converting 85.4 percent of his 323 attempted field goals and 99 percent of his point-after attempts, earning a first-team All-Pro selection and Pro Bowl nod in only his second season in 2006. In that campaign, his Bears reached Super Bowl XLI, where they fell to Peyton Manning's Colts in Miami.

Gould would make three playoff appearances with the Bears (2005, 2006 and 2010), converting every single kicking attempt (6 for 6 on field goals, 19 for 19 on extra points). He'd move onto New York where he spent one season as the Giants' kicker (2016) for a squad that reached Wild Card Weekend before bowing out against the Green Bay Packers. At 34 years old, Gould had already been in the NFL for a dozen seasons, but wasn't done with professional football, moving west to San Francisco. He'd serve as a reliable kicker for the 49ers for the next six seasons, posting a field-goal percentage of 87.5 while converting 96.1 percent of point-after attempts.

He unceremoniously departed San Francisco following the 2022 season, noting he'd prefer to play somewhere closer to family in Chicago in the twilight of his career. That opportunity never arrived for Gould, who spent most of the 2023 season out of work before calling it a career.

Gould retires with a career field-goal percentage of 86.5 and extra-point conversion rate of 97.5 percent, walking away as one of the most trustworthy kickers of his generation. He accounted for 1,961 points scored in his 18 NFL seasons, and as an avid golfer, he'll hope to take that consistency to the course, where he'll enjoy rounds during a retirement focused on enjoying life as a retiree and dedicated father to two young boys.

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