BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time in his 13-year career, Stephen Gostkowski experienced free agency this offseason. And for a second there, it looked like he may be kicking somewhere other than New England next season.
But Gostkowski took his first free agency process in stride. He knew what he wanted, and even when he began getting calls from other teams when the calendar turned to April, he stuck to it. His lengthy wait ended on April 9, when the All Pro kicker and the defending Super Bowl champs agreed to a two-year deal.
The 35-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Having a lot of time to sit back and think what I really wanted, really reassured me how much I really did want to be here,” Gostkowski told reporters at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday. “Couldn’t have been happier that it worked out the way it did. It was a weird experience. Eight or nine years ago, when I don’t have kids and a family and roots here, it’s a completely different ball game.”
Gostkowski said it was nice to hear from other interested teams, but from the jump, he really didn’t have any desire to kick for anyone else.
“At the end of the day, I would like to try to finish where I started. That meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to my kids and my family,” he said. “We are ecstatic to have two more shots to play for the Patriots.”
Winning helps, of course, and Gostkowski has done plenty of that in his time with the Patriots. He replaced Adam Vinatieri in 2006 and has since become the team’s all-time leader in points (1,743) and field goals (367). Most importantly, he’ll collect his third Super Bowl ring later this offseason.
But he isn’t the only one reaping the benefits of New England’s long run of success. Gostkowski’s oldest son has been to five Super Bowls and his young daughter, who hasn’t even turned three yet, has already been to a trio of big games.
“It’s a dream come true. I wouldn’t change anything for the journey I’ve been able to have and look forward to trying to make a couple more memories,” Gostkowki said Tuesday.
Kicking in the less-than-ideal elements that come with spending your career in New England has never been a deterrent for Gostkowski.
“I kind of like the challenge of being here,” he said Tuesday. “The bad weather; obviously we’ve been getting terrible weather the last couple of weeks. The pressure of big games and all of that stuff and just the opportunity to have a chance to keep playing with a lot of the friends and teammates that I’ve made. To me, that means the world, a lot more than other things that could be offered from other teams.”