FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a season in which they've employed four kickers on the active roster, the New England Patriots added an unusual layer of insurance at the position Wednesday by signing Josh Gable -- who never played college football -- to their practice squad.
Gable, 29, played professional soccer in Italy and Belgium before returning to the United States in 2016 to kick for the Nebraska Danger, Iowa Barnstormers and Tucson Sugar Skulls in the Indoor Football League. But Gable is probably best known for the trick-shot kicks he has posted on social media.
The Patriots have kept close tabs on Gable for three years, having first invited him to their rookie minicamp in 2017. He was also among a group of kickers the Patriots worked out in early October this year after Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve due to his left hip injury.
The team ultimately signed 37-year-old veteran Mike Nugent out of that group, and he lasted four games. Nick Folk was signed to replace Nugent, and when the 32-year-old Folk required surgery on his appendix in late November, Kai Forbath replaced him for one game.
Folk was re-signed on Saturday, and in four games with the Patriots, he's 8-of-11 on field goal attempts and 4-of-4 on point-after attempts.
It's unlikely the Patriots would turn the job over to Gable, particularly given what is almost certainly ahead -- high-stakes playoff games. But with open spots on the practice squad, and Gable's versatility to help handle kickoffs, punts and field goals in practice, his addition could take some strain off Folk and punter Jake Bailey (who handles kickoffs).
It also gives the Patriots the chance to work with Gable and evaluate whether he might be a legitimate option for the top job in the 2020 season.
In 2019 with the Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, Gable was 6-of-16 on field goals and 50-of-57 on point-after attempts. Goalposts in the IFL are 9 feet wide, and the crossbar is 15 feet high, while the goalposts in the NFL are 18 feet, 6 inches wide, and the crossbar is 10 feet high.