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Veteran kicker Nate Kaeding said Thursday he is retiring from the NFL.
Kaeding, 31, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month but recently suffered a groin injury that convinced him it was time to leave professional football.
"Over the last three years I've struggled with recurring muscle injuries in my kicking leg," Kaeding said, according to KCRG-TV. "Since January of this offseason I executed a deliberate and comprehensive training regimen devised to address these muscular deficiencies.
"However, this past week, as I began kicking again for the first time in preparation for the 2013 season, I suffered yet another injury to my right adductor. After consulting with both medical professionals and personal advisers, I've come to the conclusion that I can no longer perform at the level of consistency and durability that is required of me as an athlete in the National Football League."
Kaeding's career field goal percentage (.862) ranks as second in NFL history among kickers with more than two seasons to Mike Vanderjagt's .865. Kaeding has played eight NFL seasons, first with the San Diego Chargers, then with the Miami Dolphins. In his career, he has made 181 of 210 field goals and 352 of 354 extra points (.994).
Kaeding wasn't quite as accurate in the playoffs, however, making just eight of 15 attempts. In his last postseason game with the Chargers in 2010, he missed all three field goal attempts in a 17-14 loss to the Jets.
"It's not like I can switch the way I kick, or change this way, or use a different muscle," Kaeding told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "Especially for me, and the way I kick, that's the main lever in the kicking motion. It's impossible to avoid it, and I've got these chronic issues."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.