BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Grand Island native Brett Kern has announced his retirement after 15 seasons as an NFL punter, the longest career of any professional football player from Western New York.
Kern, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, punted in 223 regular season games and nine playoff contests with the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles. Kern’s $29.3 million career earnings rank sixth all-time among NFL punters. His 1,006 regular season punts rank 25th all-time, and his 45.9 yards per punt career average is in the top-15.
“It’s hard to come up with the words, and the amount of thankfulness that I have for so much,” said Kern, who announced his retirement Thursday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville. “I am so thankful I was able to be here, and to be able to raise my family here, and to play for an organization for so long.”
Signing with Denver as an undrafted free agent from the University of Toledo in 2008, Kern spent most of his career (2009-21) with Tennessee, where he was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls (2017-19) and achieved AP All-Pro recognition (2019). After being released by the Titans last August, Kern signed with the Eagles in December, appearing in four regular season games and two playoff victories before being deactivated for Super Bowl LVII.
Kern was a first-team All-New York State punter for Grand Island’s Section VI championship team in 2003, and participated in New York-New Jersey Governor’s Bowl played at the U.S. Military Bowl. He also played basketball and competed in the high hurdles and long jump for the Vikings.
Inducted into the Toledo Athletics Hall of Fame, Kern was a third-team AP All-American and Ray Guy Award finalist in 2008 after finishing second in the nation in gross and net punting average.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.