By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
For years, a lot of people have called for the Patriots to bring in other kickers to at least compete for a job with Stephen Gostkowski. On Wednesday, they apparently got their wish with the workouts – but not necessarily for the reason they want. (Update: The Patriots are reportedly placing Gostkowski on injured reserve.)
ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Wednesday morning that the Patriots “are working out some free-agent kickers today” in Foxboro. But Belichick in his Wednesday press conference denied that any workouts had taken place and wouldn’t confirm whether any were planned.
When asked if he feels Gostkowski needed “competition” at the kicker position, Belichick replied: “I don’t really think any of that’s related to competition; no.”
The Patriots work out free agents at every position every season, if only to do their due diligence and keep a list of emergency options or practice squad candidates. They’ve reportedly worked out a number of quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen, and defensive backs in the early-going. Tight end Jason Vander Laan worked out with the team on Sept. 3 before signing to the practice squad last week.
It’s possible that the kicker workouts are related to an injury for Gostkowski in the event that he has to miss time. Gostkowski was not spotted during the media availability portion of practice in Foxboro on Wednesday. Sometimes he and other specialists practice separately on the game field at Gillette Stadium, but no reports indicate that took place.
As of this writing, no names of any kickers have been reported. Notable free-agent kickers with NFL experience include Blair Walsh, Mike Nugent, Giorgio Tavecchio, and Kai Forbath. Veterans Sebastian Janikowski, Phil Dawson, and Chandler Catanzaro announced their retirements earlier this year.
We’ll update you if any injury news comes out on Gostkowski. The Patriots will release their first injury report of the week later on Wednesday afternoon.(Update: They have signed Mike Nugent to replace the injured Stephen Gostkowski.)
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.