Nate Kaeding has been spotted around town, and by all accounts, that black cloud which was last seen over him has dissipated.
Kaeding's missed 40-yard field goal in the playoff overtime loss to the Jets was a downer end to an upbeat season. Kaeding, of course, was devastated in the wake of the misfire, but has since bounced back.
He's wearing a smile again, and eager to chalk up the experience to all being part of a pro athlete's topsy-turvy life.
All of which surprised coach Marty Schottenheimer not in the least.
"The best thing that he has going for him, in my view, is the strength of self-confidence that he has," Schottenheimer said. "He will rebound from that without any doubt in my mind."
Some thought the Chargers were out of their minds for burning a third-round pick on Kaeding. But the Iowa product -- he was a two-time team captain for the Hawkeyes -- had a sensational rookie season, converting on 20 of 25 attempts.
Kaeding set a rookie scoring mark for the Chargers, collecting 114 points. Kaeding led all NFL rookies in scoring and finished 10th overall among all kickers.
So the final kick -- which was like a kick in the stomach to the Chargers and their fans -- won't linger with Kaeding, Schottenheimer predicts.
"Given those opportunities again, which he most certainly will, he will deliver," Schottenheimer said.
Kaeding begins anew
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