BOSTON (AP)The Patriots said goodbye Monday to another longtime staple of their two-decade run of championships, releasing kicker and franchise leading scorer Stephen Gostkowski.
The three-time Super Bowl champion has spent his entire 14-year career in New England.
Drafted in 2006, Gostkowski has long passed Adam Vinatieri as the Patriots’ leading scorer with 1,775 points. Only Tom Brady (41), Vinatieri (32) and Jerry Rice (29) have played in more playoff games. His 205 postseason points are second to the 238 points by Vinatieri.
The 36-year-old Gostkowski started the first four games of 2019 but struggled, missing a career-high four extra points after not missing more than three in any of his previous 13 NFL seasons. He was placed on injured reserve in October and underwent season-ending hip surgery.
Viniatieri cemented his place in New England history by kicking two winning field goals in the Super Bowl before leaving for the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in 2006.
Gostkowski did the same with his consistency, becoming one of the NFL’s most dependable kickers during his Patriots tenure. A two-time All-Pro, he missed only one extra point in his first 10 years in the league and appeared in every game for New England from 2011 through 2018.
His six Super Bowl appearances are tied for second behind Brady.
Gostkowski ends his Patriots tenure having made 87.4% (374 of 428) of his field-goal attempts. Veteran Nick Folk ended last season as New England’s kicker, but is currently a free agent.
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