Kicker Stephen Gostkowski closes on Patriots' points record

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was sitting in front of his locker Tuesday, answering questions from a few reporters when he looked up at one point and noticed the media crowd had multiplied. He seemed surprised as more and more questions were asked of him.

"Come on, I've been here 10 minutes," he said, the words delivered with a humorous touch as they were reflective of his surprise at the media interest.

The attention for Gostkowski wasn't all that surprising when considering the milestone he's approaching. With 1,124 career points, he is seven away from passing Gino Cappelletti for second place in Patriots' history. Then he can set his sights on Adam Vinatieri, whose 1,158 points are a Patriots' record.

It just so happens Vinatieri will be on the opposite sideline Sunday night, which probably was another factor sparking such media attention for Gostkowski on Tuesday.

"It's a product of being on a good team," Gostkowski said, when asked about the pride he has in his point total, adding that he's unaware of any records until they are pointed out to him. "As a specialist, you're only as good as the opportunities you're given. Part of being a kicker is being ready for when your name is called, and being ready at all times for making a big kick, or kicking a lot of kicks, or kicking in adverse conditions. You never really know what you're going to get."

As for Vinatieri, the kicker whom Gostkowski replaced, he said, "It's super impressive. The guy is unbelievable. I've heard the stories about how hard he works out and all that stuff. To be able to be that good, I don't know how he feels, but he doesn't make it look like he feels old. I wouldn't say 42 [which Vinatieri turns Dec. 28] is old. ...I admire every kicker in the NFL. I know how hard it is to be successful on a week-in and week-out basis and no one has done it better than Adam. He deserves all the accolades and respect in the world."

This is Vinatieri's 19th season and when the 30-year-old Gostkowski (9th season) was asked if he'd like to play 20 seasons, he chuckled.

"What are the hard questions for?" he asked, saying he approaches things more on a day-to-day, game-by-game basis.