Titans Sign Kicker Stephen Gostkowski

David Boclair

NASHVILLE – For the second straight year, the Tennessee Titans have brought in a new kicker just before the start of the regular season.

Last year, they did it because they had to. This time, they did it because they wanted to.

The Titans agreed to terms with 36-year-old Stephen Gostkowski on Thursday. Gostkowski spent 14 seasons and was a part of three Super Bowl wins with the New England Patriots. He is a two-time All-Pro, a four-time Pro Bowler and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s team of the decade for the 2010s.

Coach Mike Vrabel was teammates with Gostkowski for three years in New England, and general manager Jon Robinson was part of the Patriots' personnel department at the time.

"A lot is going to be made about our history with Stephen," Vrabel said. "In the end, that doesn't really mean anything. It's a decision that we thought -- as a team -- would help solidify a position."

To make room, the Titans released Greg Joseph.

Joseph was the last four placekickers Tennessee used in 2019. The shuffle started when Ryan Succop was placed on injured reserve days before the opener at Cleveland and Cairo Santos was signed. Santos was released after Week 5 and replaced by Cody Parkey, who was released when Succop was added to the active roster. After six games, Succop was returned to injured reserve and Joseph was signed.

In this case, Joseph, who just turned 26, did not do enough during training camp to earn the confidence of the coaching staff for a team that has high aspirations for 2020.

"I don't think it was anything that Greg did or didn't go," Vrabel said. "We had an opportunity to sign a player that we thought would help the team."

Gostkowski has led the NFL in field goals made three times, most recently in 2014, and in 2017 made a career-long 62-yarder. A hip injury limited him to four games played in 2019.

A fourth-round pick by the Patriots out of Memphis in 2006, he has made 87.4 percent of his career field goal attempts (374-428), which ranks fifth in NFL history. He is also second for career points in the postseason with 205. He has made 39 of 44 field goal tries (88.6 percent) in the playoffs.

"This isn't a lifetime achievement award," Vrabel said. "This is about everybody's ability to what we're going to do this year. Obviously, we're all hopeful that Stephen and everybody else is going to do their job."

Gostkowski has a little more than a week to get settled in with his new team. The Titans open the 2020 regular season Sept. 14 at Denver.

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