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Kaeding haunted by ‘nightmarish scenario’

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Redemption must wait after injury

    Thursday, January 28

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Nate Kaeding did not sleep that night and was in the Chargers’ complex at 5 o’clock the next morning, watching his kicks on a big screen in a darkened room.
    He spent time last week — when he wasn’t in seclusion with his wife and two young children — being counseled by his coaches. It seems Kaeding has reached a point of being ready to at least try to move forward, but he has been in a bad way since those kicks sailed left and right and short on Jan. 17.
    “I was just really blindsided by it,” Kaeding said yesterday. “I was looking for answers.”
    Kaeding spoke after the AFC Pro Bowl squad’s morning practice at a high school here.
    A few hours later, he withdrew from the Pro Bowl after suffering what appears to be a slight tear in his groin.
    “Stay 10 yards away from me; I’m not good luck right now,” Kaeding said with a laugh. “It’s beyond unbelievable. I’m laughing to keep from crying.”
    Kaeding left practice believing the tweak in his groin was not a problem. But after undergoing tests later, Kaeding said the injury was “significant enough” that it was prudent for him to skip this week’s festivities. He will undergo further tests this week.
    Kaeding had been looking forward to kicking in Sunday’s game. Even though just an exhibition, it was going to afford him the opportunity to kick in a game.
    “I had mentally structured it in my mind, I was going to take this week seriously,” Kaeding said. “I was looking forward to getting out there (in the Pro Bowl) and getting to kick and going through that, rather than six months from now.”
    He only briefly considered not kicking here this week.
    Before being forced to withdraw, Kaeding spoke of beginning that process.
    “It’s not my nature to run and hide,” he said. “I sat and thought about it. I said, ‘It’s my job to come kick the football, and I’m going to do it.’
    “The circumstances of the last week have been so overwhelming … the last thing I want to do is look at a football. But I decided I needed to suck it up, be a man and go down (to South Florida).”
    Yesterday was Kaeding’s first time since that night publicly addressing the disastrous game in which he missed three field goals in the Chargers’ 17-14 season-imploding loss to the New York Jets.
    But, privately, it is about all that has been on his mind.
    “It’s impossible for me to not think about,” he said. “There haven’t been 30 seconds that have gone by since that game that I haven’t thought about it.”
    Kaeding spoke evenly, but his anguish was plain.
    The most accurate regular-season kicker in NFL history entered that game having made 20-consecutive field goals, most of them not even flirting with the uprights but going dead center. He had made an NFL-record 69 straight from 40 yards or closer.
    Yet, that day, he missed to the left from 36 yards in the first quarter. His try from 57 yards fell short and right at the end of the second quarter. And his attempt from 40 yards in the fourth quarter went wide right.
    “It’s been a nightmarish scenario,” Kaeding said. “To have it going so good and over one day, to go so bad … It’s hard right now, if not impossible, to wrap my head around and figure out what went wrong.”
    Kaeding is not running from the task, but he has several months to right himself.
    He said the first miss was because he hurried. The second two were not technical mistakes. He candidly acknowledged they were in his head.
    “On the other two, it was my inability to mentally get over that first miss,” he said. “… On that day, I wasn’t mentally strong enough to come back and swing through the ball.”
    Kaeding will not rush the process of mentally healing and processing what went wrong. But, he said, “That’s my job. If it doesn’t naturally come in the next week or two I’m going to sit down and make myself figure it out.”
    He has for four years consulted a sports psychologist during the offseason for all manner of issues that confront a kicker — who is rarely called upon to contribute but so often has his contribution matter.
    “It’s helped me tremendously,” Kaeding said.
    He said he will continue to see the psychologist, and his playoff misses will certainly come up.
    Kaeding, whose 87.2 percent success rate during the regular season is unsurpassed by any kicker ever, has made just eight of his 15 field goal tries (53.3 percent) in the playoffs.
    He missed four of his first six postseason kicks but had made six straight going into this year’s playoffs.
    “Kicking in the postseason was a hurdle I thought I’d gotten over,” Kaeding said. “Therein lies the disappointment. I work extremely hard every year at getting better. To have it blow up in my face that one day … ”
    Kaeding knows he will be judged going forward by how he does in the postseason. Most people, in fact, won’t care what he does in the regular season.
    “I understand, looking at it from the outside,” he said.
    But he argues he has to continue to excel in the regular season to even have another shot in the playoffs.
    He said that process will begin shortly, even though he doesn’t get to kick anymore this week.
    “I was not mentally tough enough on that day,” Kaeding said. “But trust me, I’m pulling myself up. I know 100 percent for sure, I am tough enough to make field goals in the playoffs. I wish I had that chance tomorrow.”
  2. IFiredCHart

    IFiredCHart Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2009
    This was a segment on PTI today, and I agree with the stance that Wilbon had on this--openly admitting his dismal failure will either allow Kaeding to get over it or prove that he is not capable of recovering.

    In either case, he suggested that we carry a backup at all times after hearing these remarks,
  3. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    There we go. So obviously his interview after the game was just the way he copes with things immediately. This is WAY different than him just saying "I thought I had a good swing" and all that ****. Good for him.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

    Aug 20, 2006
    Nate is broken.

    Fix it AJ.
  5. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    "He has for four years consulted a sports psychologist"

    Time for a new psychologist. :icon_rofl:
  6. Chavez

    Chavez Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Is he still under warranty? Can we send him back for a new one?

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