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Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski in 2013 (Sgt. Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs/Wikipedia)

Patriots Kicker Stephen Gostkowski To Have Surgery For Season-Ending Hip Injury

New England Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski has been placed on injured reserve, leading the Patriots to search for a new kicker for the first time since 2010.

Gostkowshi had been dealing with a long-term hip injury and will be undergoing season ending surgery to treat it. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he will be ready to play for the 2020 season.

The Patriots have had consistently incredible kickers for more than 20 years. The team had surefire Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinateiri for ten years starting in 1996 and smoothly transitioned to Gostkowski right after. Barring an injury-shortened season where he was replaced by Shayne Graham for seven weeks in 2010, Gostkowski has been the foot to remember in Foxborough.

This marks relatively new territory for the Pats, as they usually have never had to delve into the free agent market for kicking. They worked out several kickers on Wednesday, including veterans Mike Nugent and Kai Forbath, but have not yet signed any player.

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If no new kicker is signed, the Patriots are content with sending rookie punter Jake Bailey to kick and punt. Bailey — who the Patriots traded up to draft in the fifth round — was a kicker and punter at Stanford, so he is acclimated to the role well. During training camp, Bailey and Gostkowski shared similar leg strength while splitting kickoff duties.

Special teams Captain Matthew Slater gave advice to whoever ends up replacing Gostkowski.

“They just have to be themselves, whoever it is, you don’t have to be Steve, you don’t have to be Adam [Vinatieri], you just have to be yourself,” said Slater. “That’s the call for each and every man that steps into this locker room. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. Just be yourself. Do your job to the best of your ability, and know this team is going to support you as best as it can.”

Whoever New England goes with, he will have tough shoes to fill given the recent history of its kicking corps. However, the team’s next kicker will fit right into the Patriot Way as long as he can be consistent.

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Written by Brandon Gitte

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