The Patriots’ kicker workout from earlier today now makes a lot more sense. New England is placing longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve, a source told Jim McBride of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Furthermore – a mid-season return has already been ruled out, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Gostkowski’s left hip injury will require season-ending surgery, but he is expected to be ready to go for next season.
Gostkowski has been the Patriots’ kicker since 2006, and nobody else has attempted a kick for the Pats since he missed some time back in 2010. Something clearly wasn’t right with him, as he’s already missed four extra points and a field goal so far this season. New England is undefeated, but obviously Bill Belichick isn’t going to get complacent with a weakness. It’s unclear exactly what injury he’s dealing with, and it’s possible the Patriots are just using IR to let one of their most respected veterans save face.
That being said Gostkowski is still only 35, so he shouldn’t be declining too much just yet. The Patriots have always had a very stable kicking situation, as Gostkowski took over as Adam Vinatieri, who had handled New England’s kicking game for the previous ten seasons. Gostkowski just signed a new two-year deal with the team back in April. If this is the end of the road for him with the Patriots, he’ll leave town as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. We’ll likely receive word of a kicker signing shortly.