Stephen Gostkowski is the leading scorer in New England history. He was released by the team at age 36 after season-ending hip surgery. AP


Stephen Gostkowski underwent hip surgery last October that ended his 2019 season – and ultimately marked the last time he would kick for the New England Patriots after a 14-year run.

It was a major decision for the 36-year-old kicker, but one that will likely help him lead a more active life after his playing days are over.

During an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Gostkowski revealed the circumstances that led to him undergoing surgery.

“If I kept playing on it and I kept doing more and more damage on it, I was looking at being 40 and having hip replacement,” Gostkowski said. “Getting it taken care of sooner rather than later helped prolong my active lifestyle and possibly to continue playing.”

Gostkowski declined to elaborate on how the conversation went with Coach Bill Belichick once the decision was made to have surgery.


“I’m not a big fan of talking about how things go with Bill. He probably still has eyes on me,” Gostkowski said with a laugh.

Six months removed from surgery, Gostkowski says he’s been going out to an open high school field amid coronavirus lockdown to kick and workout.

“I haven’t done any kickoffs yet, but the field goals have been going really well. I don’t kick more than like 20 kicks. I usually make 19 out of 20.”

Gostkowski explained that he had a torn labrum and a hip impingement that led to a “ton of bone-on-bone contact” in his leg. Gostkowski had attempted to keep playing through it. However, by not getting it taken care of, he says the injury ultimately began to affect his play.

“I would feel very good for about 30, 45 minutes,” Gostkowski said. “But then I would sit down and five minutes later I would feel like I was like 65 years old.”

Ultimately, he chose to “bite the bullet and get the surgery.”


The 2019 surgery marked the second major injury of Gostkowski’s career. He missed half of the 2010 season after landing on injured reserve because of a thigh injury.

Gostkowski leaves the Patriots as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and the fifth-most accurate kicker in NFL history. The four-time Pro Bowler hit 87.4 percent of his kicks during his career.

However, Gostkowski’s play began to suffer in 2019. He went 7 of 8 on field goals, but just 11 of 15 on extra points before being shut down after four games.

McAfee, a former Indianapolis Colts punter, noted that many kickers in the NFL wind up having issues with their knees or hips because of the repeated kicking movements causing damage over the years.

“You do something, the same thing over and over again for a long time, you’re gonna feel like crap,” Gostkowski said. “My plant leg, taking a lot of pounding over the years, just started giving out on me.”

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