On Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a statement through the team regarding kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who was released earlier in the week:
“I have had the privilege of coaching some of the best specialists in the NFL and Stephen Gostkowski is one of them. Stephen had many highlights over his 14 years as a Patriot and one of the most impressive was the way it began, when he succeeded the most accomplished kicker in NFL history. For some, this may have been too difficult a challenge. But from his rookie year, Stephen exuded a maturity and confidence that demonstrated he was up to the task. He made several crucial kicks his rookie year and established a top level of performance and consistency for years and years to come. Stephen is a great teammate who made outstanding contributions over a decade of championship football.”
Belichick does not regularly issue statements following the release of players, so the fact that he chose to do so likely is a testament to the respect he has for Gostkowski.
The 36-year-old Gostkowski played 14 seasons in New England after being selected in the fourth round in 2006 out of Memphis. He connected on 374 of 428 field goal attempts and 653 of 664 PATs for 1,775 points in 204 regular-season games.