Chargers Kicker Nate Kaeding
Fans love to hate this Charger
He’s the most accurate kicker in the NFL—and the player so many Chargers fans love to hate. All because of that fateful missed kick (okay, there were three) against the Jets to lose the division title in 2010. This season, coming off a knee injury, he’s looking forward and focused on staying out of his own head.
How’s the knee?
I got through the whole rehab process and feel like I’m strong and ready for another season. It was kind of a long year not being out there with the teammates.
What’s it going to take to go all the way this year?
We’ve got a great quarterback—if you have a great quarterback in the NFL, you have a good chance. There’s always excitement at the start of training camp, and we’re certainly no exception.
What about the pressure to win?
There’s always pressure in the NFL, the brightest stage there is, and you learn to accept that early in your career, and just hope that it elevates your play.
It always feels like there is more pressure on the kicker.
There’s definitely more pressure. You don’t get as many opportunities, but you learn to handle it. It comes with the territory, so you try and use it to keep motivated and focused.
Do you have a pregame ritual?
I know that kickers have all these quirky things, but not really for me. I just try to stay out of my own head a little bit—do something to take my mind off of it.
Not really… (laughs). I eat different things before every game, and I don’t tie my shoes in a funny way or anything. I like to think of kicking as an athletic move, just like throwing or catching or blocking or tackling. I have a system and an approach to it.
At San Diego Magazine, we’re obsessed with food. Any spots you love?
Tender Greens in Point Loma. It’s by far my favorite. I eat there like three to four times a week.
Drink of choice?
I’m a beer guy, so San Diego’s great. Anything from Stone is good. Ballast Point is solid. Also, Lightning pilsner.
Anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
The saying in kicking is: ‘It’s not your last one, it’s your next one.’ That’s true every year and every season. I feel like I’m still writing my story here in my career. And I look forward to writing that next chapter.