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Former 49ers kicker Robbie Gould retires after 18-year career

Longtime NFL kicker Robbie Gould is retiring following an 18-year career that established him as one of the game's best in the clutch.

Gould announced his retirement on The Player's Tribune on Thursday. Gould had been a free agent after the San Francisco 49ers opted not to bring him back for a seventh season. Gould spent 11 seasons with the Chicago Bears and one with the New York Giants.

"At the end of the day, every organization I've played for has had a positive impact on my career, each one leaving its unique and significant mark on my journey," he wrote. "And I could not be more thankful that's how it played out for me."

The 49ers featured a tribute to Gould on one of the digital signs at the entrance to Levi's Stadium Thursday.

Gould, who turned 41 on Wednesday, went from being a walk-on at Penn State and undrafted in the NFL to having an impressive pro career. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2006, reached the Super Bowl with both Chicago and San Francisco and retires with the eighth most career field goals (447) and 10th most points (1,961) in NFL history.

But it was in the postseason when Gould was at his best, making all 29 field goals and 39 extra points he attempted for the most made kicks in the playoffs without a miss in NFL history. No one else has more than 23 makes without a miss.

Of all the kicks Gould made, one stands out above the rest. It came during the 2021 divisional round when he was with the 49ers and went to Green Bay to play the Packers, his longtime rival from his years with the Bears.

On a frigid day at storied Lambeau Field, Gould made a 45-yard field goal on the final play to give San Francisco a 13-10 win.

"The temperature was below zero, and it felt exactly the way it did when I played in the Windy City," he recalled. "Snow was falling, and the ground was soft. It wasn't ideal, but none of that mattered; as a kicker, it was one of those moments I lived for every time I stepped on the field. And then ... We nailed it right down the middle. Just like that, the game was over."

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