Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick thankful to have Vinatieri, Gostkowski as kickers in New England

Kyle DaLuz
July 27, 2018 - 9:51 am

FOXBORO -- Entering his 13th NFL season, Stephen Gostkowski is the second longest-tenured New England Patriot besides quarterback Tom Brady.

Gostkowski has been the leader of the Patriots’ special team’s unit since entering the league in 2006, when he replaced one of the best kickers in the game in Adam Vinatieri.

Vinatieri remains one of the game’s greats years later in Indianapolis, arguably the most clutch kicker in NFL history. But it may be surprising to some that Gostkowski has been in New England for three seasons longer than his predecessor.

Head coach Bill Belichick was asked what Gostkowski has meant to the Patriots throughout Belichick’s tenure on Friday morning at the second day of training camp practices.

“Steve’s been great to work with,” he said. “He’s shown an incredible amount of maturity and poise since his rookie year. He faced probably as difficult a situation as any rookie player that I’ve brought on to a team, given the expectations of him and what Adam did before.

“Steve’s been really consistent for all these years. He’s a very hard worker. He’s earned the respect of his teammates. He does everything that the team does in terms of training and conditioning and so forth. He’s not on any special kicker program or anything like that.”

Gostkowski has played in all 16 games in 11 of his 12 seasons. He finished last season 37-40 on field goal attempts, with a career-high 62-yarder against the Raiders in Mexico. Gostkowski is a career 87.6 percent field goal kicker.

“He’s very accountable, dependable – physically and mentally tough player. I’ve been very fortunate here to have two of the best kickers to have ever played in the National Football League as the head coach here. I feel very fortunate to have had Steve and Adam (Vinatieri).

"Steve's a good example for all of us; all players and coaches. He's got a very professional attitude. He's a good teammate but he works hard at his job, to do his job well to help the team, and that's really the motto for all of us – to be good teammates, but to do our jobs so everybody can count on us and put everything we have into it to be able to help the team."