A grateful and humble Shayne Graham, the most accurate kicker in Bengals history, announced his retirement Monday to end a career that spanned 15 seasons and 10 teams.
Graham, 39, who didn't kick this season after getting cut by Atlanta at the end of training camp, went from the waiver wire to the Bengals' only Pro Bowl kicker ever in 2005 during his seven-season stint in Cincinnati he made 86.76 percent of his 204 field-goals attempts. Ironically, in his last Bengals game in the 2009 Wild Card Game against the Jets at Paul Brown Stadium he missed field goals of 28 and 35 yards in a 24-14 loss. He then went on to kick for seven more teams (his last-snap field goal gave the Saints a post-season win in 2013) and he's currently 10th all-time with an 85.49 percentage.
"One of the great regrets I have in my career is that I didn't realize how good I had it in Cincinnati," Graham said. "There was a time I fooled myself into thinking there were other things more important than what they were. I lost grasp of what true reality was. When I look back on it I feel like I could have been there a lot longer if I made different decisions. But think it made me a better person, made me a better professional."
Graham appeared at Legends Weekend this season at PBS as incumbent kicker Mike Nugent struggled, but he sensed a reunion wasn't possible "because they were looking to go with someone they thought could be around for more than a couple of years." He works out in the offseason with Randy Bullock, the six-year veteran the Bengals ended up signing at the end of the year And then after the season for two years.
"I hope he's there for seven years, too," Graham said.
Graham said he was tired of living out of a suitcase and is going to pursue jobs as a special teams coach.