STATELINE, Nev. — Eleven days before the opening of free agency and six weeks before the NFL Draft, veteran kicker Robbie Gould announced he would not return to the 49ers.
Gould told NBC Sports Bay Area this week that he wished to remain with the franchise but the 49ers showed no interest in retaining him for a seventh season.
“I would’ve loved to have gone back there,” Gould said at the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Resort.
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“I told them I wanted to go back there. We never got an offer from the team and we never had a conversation about coming back.”
Gould, 40, ranks No. 1 among active players with 1,961 points scored in his 18-year career. He remains a free agent, awaiting an opportunity he is confident will materialize as training camps get set to open around the NFL.
The 49ers moved on from Gould with the selection of Michigan kicker Jake Moody in the third round with the No. 99 overall selection. A month earlier, the 49ers added veteran kicker Zane Gonzalez in a trade from the Carolina Panthers in a swap of late-round 2025 draft picks.
“The change wasn’t my decision,” Gould said. “Obviously, at the end of the season, they had to make a decision and ultimately they wanted to go in a different direction.
San Francisco 49ers
“We put out the tweet that we were going to go in a different direction once we found that out. It was a great run, and it was a lot of fun. I wish all my teammates nothing but the best.”
Gould was among the first free-agent signings of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch regime in the spring of 2017.
He re-signed with the club in 2020 after a contentious contract negotiation after the club placed the franchise tag on him.
Gould ranks as the franchise’s most accurate kicker with an 88.3 percent success rate on field goals, including 21-for-21 in the postseason.
In his career, Gould has made an NFL-record 29 field goals in the postseason without a miss.
Gould said he signed with the 49ers six years ago because of Shanahan. He leaves the franchise with high opinions of his now-former coach and the York family ownership, he said.
“Kyle is the best head coach in the NFL,” Gould said. “The guy is an offensive genius. He’s an awesome dude. I can’t speak highly enough about how great of a dude he is, how awesome he’s been to me. I think he’s unbelievable as a head coach.
“The opportunity to come in and play for him was awesome. He fought for me every single time my deal was up. I tried my best to play as hard as I could and give everything I could to the organization. My body of work speaks for that. At the end of the day, they’re going to go in a different direction and my opportunity is coming, and I’m excited for it.”
Gould said he has talked with a number of teams this offseason about the possibility of future employment but he remains patient as he awaits the right situation and contract.
“I know training camp is coming up and I’m ready for the next opportunity,” Gould said. “And I’m sure these teams will give these young kids a chance and find out who has a chance to compete. I think things will get a lot more serious. But, yeah, I’m ready to go and looking forward to the next season.”