Stephen Gostkowski’s life isn’t all about football, but a little job security is always nice. The New England Patriots announced Wednesday that they signed their longtime kicker to another contract, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it’s a two-year deal for $8.5 million.
The 35-year-old kicker has been part of the Patriots organization since 2006, when he was drafted in the fourth round (118th overall). Since then he has become one of the most reliable kickers in the game, converting 367 of 420 field goal attempts in the regular season (87.4 percent) and 642 of 649 point after attempts (98.9). In 28 career playoff games, which include three Super Bowl wins, Gostkowski is 39-of-44 on field goals and 88-of-92 on PATs.
For some athletes, this sort of success would be the defining source of identity in their life, but Gostkowski told Sports Spectrum in February that a near-tragic incident with his wife, Hallie, shifted his perspective on a lot of things. He grew up in the South (born in Louisiana, high school in Mississippi, college in Tennessee), where “faith and football go hand in hand,” but felt like God taught him an important lesson early in 2018.
“I remember after we lost last year in the Super Bowl, I was pretty down,” Gostkowski said. “Not two or three weeks later, my wife was driving in a storm and a tree fell right on her car. Huge tree, came within inches — she could have been dead. Literally it was on her lap and she walked away unscathed.
“From that moment on, I told myself, ‘I can’t feel sorry for myself for a game like this. There’s a lot more [important] things in life.’ And that was a huge lesson, it almost seemed like it was a sign. For her to get that close, my life could have been turned upside down big time with that. And that’s definitely changed my whole perspective on a lot of things in my life.”
Gostkowski’s poise and maturity has impressed even the demanding Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick. In his rookie year, Gostkowski was called on to replace the legendary Adam Vinatieri.
“He showed an incredible amount of maturity and poise,” Belichick said. “He came into probably as difficult a situation as any rookie player that I’ve brought on to a team with the expectations that were with him, and obviously, with what Adam had done before.”
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