Buffalo Bills: Former K Stephen Hauschka announces retirement

Hauschka spent three seasons as the Buffalo Bills’ reliable kicker. He announced his retirement through an Instagram post on Friday.

Veteran NFL kicker Stephen Hauschka announced his retirement on Friday afternoon through an Instagram post. Hauschka, 35, partook in 13 NFL seasons, spending his final three full campaigns with the Buffalo Bills.

The photographic post includes several photos immortalizing his football career, including cherished memories in the northeast. Several photos from his three-year stint in Western New York appear, as do snapshots from Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

“I started kicking a soccer ball at 3, switched to footballs at 19 and now at 35 I’m making the decision to hang up the cleats,” Hauschka’s accompanying caption read. “It’s been an amazing journey playing professional football the last 12+ years and when I reflect I feel grateful for all of it, the highs and the lows. It’s shaped me and my family and made us stronger and more resilient, more loving and understanding. Thank you to my family for always supporting my love of kicking.”

The former Division III kicker from Middlebury College chose to spend time as a graduate student at North Carolina State before joining the NFL in 2008. After spending time as a camp leg in Minnesota, Hauschka was chosen to succeed original Baltimore kicker Matt Stover with the Ravens, a job he held for two seasons. He would later spend brief stints with Atlanta, Detroit, Denver, and Las Vegas (with the Locomotives, their short-lived United Football League squad) during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Hauschka will likely be best known for his time spent with Seattle (2011-16) and Buffalo (2017-19). His best campaign in Seattle came in 2013, when he converted 33-of-35 field goal tries and all 44 of his extra point attempts. The former soccer player was also perfect on eight triple attempts in the postseason, the last two coming in the Seahawks’ 43-8 win over Denver in East Rutherford’s Super Bowl. Hauschka would depart Seattle as the second-leading scorer in team history, behind only fellow kicker Norm Johnson.

Buffalo signed Hauschka to a three-year deal in 2017. His propensity for line-drive kicks was seen as an advantage in the chilly atmosphere in Orchard Park. Hauschka lived up to the hype, as he would earn a reputation for kicking it from deep. He would make NFL history in a Bills uniform by converting a record 13 straight attempts from at least 50 yards out over the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Bills reached the playoffs in two of the three seasons Hauschka spent as their kicker. His most famous Buffalo boot was likely his last, as a 47-yard tally in the dying stages of regulation sent their 2020 Wild Card game appearance against Houston into overtime. Overall, Hauschka went 73-of-89 (82 percent) in his time with the Bills. Despite playing only three seasons, he ranks ninth in team history in terms of points (303).

The Bills released Hauschka in August, four months after they took Tyler Bass in the NFL Draft. His final NFL contest came in October through a one-game cameo with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hauschka gave a special thank you to Bills fans in his farewell caption.

“To the fans, the 12s and bills mafia [sic], two of the best, I always felt your unwavering passion for your team and city,” Hauschka said, referring to the respective fanbases of Seattle and Buffalo. “The energy and excitement you brought to game day was what made football fun and exciting. The tension, the drama, knowing everyone was watching and that the kick was important.”

Several of Hauschka’s former teammates arrived in the comments to support him, including Buffalo comrades Josh Allen, Dion Dawkins, Micah Hyde, and Reid Ferguson.

The modern Bills (8-3) return to action on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona against the San Francisco 49ers (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags