Stephen Gostkowski has been a mainstay on the New England Patriots special teams unit for the better part of the last two decades. Currently the leading scorer in franchise history, Gostkowski has been counted on for his reliability throughout his tenure with the team.
But could that tenure be coming to an abrupt end?
Gostkowski has been on injured reserve since Week 4 with a hip injury that required surgery. But his struggles were apparent last season, particularly on field goals from longer than 40 yards. Over the last three years, Gostkowski has posted a field goal percentage of 87.5 percent. As a result, his career mark has fallen to a similar mark as a result.
But New England made an interesting move this week, bringing YouTube sensation and trick shot kicker Josh Gable onto the practice squad for two days as a means of having an extended tryout opportunity. Though he was released Friday, it was a major step in the right direction for the 29-year-old amateur kicker.
And perhaps, Belichick has future plans for Gable in the Patriots organization.
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Keeping the Door Open
At his press conference on Friday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about giving Gable an opportunity on the practice squad
We had a spot available on the practice squad, it gave us an opportunity to look at him. He’s a younger kicker but we’re going with Nick [Folk] so it’s not really, we’ll worry about that next year rather than just having him come in and do a workout. We were actually able to have him kick with the team and throw him on the practice squad for a couple days. We put that in the bank and maybe it comes up later on at some point and time down the road, maybe it doesn’t but we’ll see how it goes.
A key detail of that quote from Belichick was about Gable’s age. Though he is pushing 30, he is a younger option at the position than Gostkowski or even Folk whom the Patriots have been using as their fourth kicker this season. Folk will certainly be considered for a future job given his performance so far this season from different distances and angles.
Who Is Josh Gable?
A former professional soccer player in Europe, Gable came back to the United States to pursue a career in pro football. He caught on in the IFL and the Arena League, but never cracked an NFL roster.
He is known for making viral trick shot videos on YouTube, some of which include him kicking field goals from distances of 70-80 yards and hitting light posts from similar distances. He has also shown his own ability to kick with both feet, a rarity for NFL kickers.
If New England were to take a chance on an inexperienced kicker for the future, someone like Gable, who has played in front of crowds before, wouldn’t be a bad option.