NASHVILLE – Music City ended up being a perfect spot for veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski, which ended up being music to the ears of the Titans and the team's fans.
Before Gostkowski joined the Titans last week, the four-time Pro Bowler had already planned his move to Nashville.
"I am very excited to be here," Gostkowski said on a video conference call on Monday. "My wife is from Memphis; I went to (the University of) Memphis. I have Tennessee roots, so when my time ended in New England and the pandemic hit, we had a lot of time to think about what we wanted to do, whether we wanted to stay up there or move back down South closer to family. My wife got on the Internet and started looking at houses, and Nashville, it seems like a great place to raise a family. We're in the Franklin area, and so far, so good.
"It just lucked out for me that there was an availability to play here. I was planning on trying to play, and it wasn't like it was here on nowhere. … Things just kind of came together and it was kind of right place, right time, and hopefully I can go out there and take advantage of it."
Gostkowski a three-time Super Bowl champion, brings with him plenty of experience.
A fourth-round draft pick (118th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft, Gostkowski is the Patriots all-time leading scorer and he's currently 12th in NFL annals with 1,775 career points and 374 field goals. Gostkowski's 87.4 percent field goal accuracy rate is the highest in Patriots history and fifth in NFL history.
In his career, Gostkowski has played in 204 regular-season games and 28 postseason games. Only Tom Brady (41), Adam Vinatieri (32) and Jerry Rice (29) have played in more playoff games. His 205 postseason points are second all-time to the 238 points by Vinatieri.
In Tennessee, after being released by the Patriots back in March, a part of Gostkowski feels like he's starting over.
"It feels weird, but it is also kind of a cool feeling – fresh start, start over. I feel like a rookie again," Gostkowski said. "I have to meet everybody, I have to find out where I fit on this team. I have to prove myself to this team. Whatever I have done or haven't done in the past really doesn't mean anything for this team. Maybe some of the young guys say: "I used to play with you on Madden", but other that that. I am excited to go out there and have to prove myself to these guys, and prove that I am worthy to be a Titan."
During the 2019 season, Gostkowski played in just four games due to a hip injury, and connected on 7-of-8 field goals and 11-of-15 extra points before being placed on injured reserve on Oct 2, 2019.
Gostkowski had hip surgery in mid-October, and on Monday he said he rehabbed the injury in New England and was cleared last year. He began kicking in March.
After spending a good chunk off the offseason in Rhode Island, Gostkowski moved to the Nashville area in July. He kicked some at Brentwood High after making a connection in town, and he talked to former Titans kicker Ryan Succop about some of his kicking spot.
Gostkowski's career regular season stats: 374-for-428 on field goals (87.4%), 653-for-664 on point-after attempts (98%). In the playoffs, Gostkowski is 31-for-36 on field goals and 79-for-83 on PATs, and he's also been valuable on kickoffs, with 523 touchbacks.
With the Titans, Gostkowski is reunited with Mike Vrabel, his former teammate with the Patriots who is now his head coach.
"Mike was really tough on me my rookie year, him and a few other guys like (Tedy) Bruschi and (Tom) Izzo and Tom (Brady) and Lonnie Paxton and Josh Miller – all those guys were multiple Super Bowl winners. I looked up to those guys a lot, and you just kind of sit back and watch how those guys work and how they carry themselves," Gostkowski said.
"He's one of those guys that even though he was really tough on me, I really looked up to him and enjoyed playing with him. … (When I arrived here) he said, 'How ya' feeling? And, 'Good to have you."