What a difference a year makes!
Last year this time,
Kaeding went a perfect 5-for-5 on the night, converting field goals of 19, 23, 28, 41 and 45 yards.
“It’s been a long year, there’s no doubt about it,” he said following the game. “Sometimes as a professional athlete, you have to fight your way back and tonight was a great way to start the season. It was a great way to start all over again and it was a great win. But I’ve been kicking long enough to know that you’ve got to go in and get ready for the next game.”
Even though it was a record night for Kaeding as he tied his career high with five field goals, he was quick to credit his teammates for putting him in an opportunity to succeed.
“It was a great team win,” he said. “Special teams played well, the defense was awesome and the offense moved the ball. We scored points and points win.”
While the entire team and coaching staff were thrilled to have their kicker back, perhaps no one was more excited than Norv Turner.
“A year ago yesterday (Kaeding) was laying on the ground with a major knee injury,” said the head coach. “He spent an entire season watching. He spent the entire offseason rehabbing and he’s better. I mean, he was better tonight. He was stronger. He was amazing kicking off, kicking it through the back of the end zone. Obviously he was outstanding as a field goal kicker. I continue to say he’s the best field goal kicker I’ve ever been around, and the reason I believe that is the way he kicked the football tonight.”
When asked how his leg felt after being put through the ringer, Kaeding said he felt amazing. After all, he’s spent an entire year looking forward to this very night.
“My leg felt fresh,” he said. “Some days you just get to the stadium and you feel good. You just have to keep rolling with it. I had a good tempo and a good rhythm and I felt good out there. But my leg felt fresh. It’s had 364 days of rest!”
On a night filled with good news and positive signs, Kaeding’s performance certainly ranks as high as any other.