Gostkowski not concerned with missed opportunities

Gostkowski not concerned with missed opportunities

By Mary Paoletti

FOXBORO -- With four seconds remaining in regulation, the Patriots and Ravens were deadlocked at 20 points apiece. New England had the ball at the Baltimore 44. It was fourth-and-1 and Stephen Gostkowski had been limbering up on the sideline for several minutes.

But instead of trotting New England's kicker out for what would have been a 61-yard attempt -- albeit with a strong breeze at his back -- Brady got down in shotgun. It was a surprising move to many.

Gostkowski didn't argue.

"You take what you get, that's not my call," he said. "I am not going to be the guy tapping Coach Bill Belichick on the shoulder saying, 'Send me out there.' I just get ready to go and when my name is called I do it.

"Ive made kicks that long before in practice and I've never gotten the opportunity to kick one of those in a game, but I would have gone out there and tried my best. The only bad thing that can happen there is that you get the kick blocked. I don't think the coaches are going to be out there yelling at me the next day if I miss, so it's kind of like a freebee."

Isn't it a point of pride? Wouldn't a kicker take it personally if his coach didn't give him the chance? Gostkowski looked at the situation pretty rationally. He knows that it's just business to Belichick.

"I knew whether I tried it or not we were still going to have overtime,'' he said in the postgame. "If I let my emotions get the best of me and get mad they coaches didnt send me out there . . . it's no disrespect.

"The percentages of a 65-yard field goal are probably pretty low and if I let that affect me and end up missing the next kick then I am not a very good professional at what I do. It would have been cool to try it, but oh well."

His ambivalence is understandable in light of the final score: 23-20, Patriots. Game-winner: Gostkowski.

"I went three-for-three with a game winner. I cant be mad about anything,'' he shrugged.

Sunday's performance was his best of the season. In a Week 1 match up against Cincinnati Gostkowski went an uncharacteristic 1-for-3 on field goals. He went 0-for-1 in his next performance against the Jets, which was actually a missed re-boot of a kick he originally made.

Gostkowski is now 7-for-10 on the regular season for field goals. Considering that his career worst was 76.9 in his rookie season, Sunday's pressure points were important.

"We ended up winning so I could care less they didnt send me out there,'' he said. "I am just glad I got the opportunity to go out there at the end."

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.