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Gostkowski goes on IR, so Patriots turn to Graham to kick

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have lost place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski for the season with a thigh injury.

The team put Gostkowski on injured reserve Wednesday and signed former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Shayne Graham.

Gostkowski felt tightness in his right thigh while warming up before Sunday's 34-14 loss at the Cleveland Browns. He didn't return after kicking off following a New England touchdown with 6:17 gone in the second quarter. Wide receiver Wes Welker handled the place-kicking the rest of the game.

"That's a bummer," quarterback Tom Brady said. "He's been a hell of a player here and a great kicker. We've had a few guys put on IR this year that are really great, dependable players that have worked hard -- Kevin (Faulk) and Ty Warren. He will be missed."

In five seasons since being drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round in 2006, Gostkowski has made 84.3 percent of his field goal attempts and missed one of 231 extra point tries. This season he made 10 of 13 field goal attempts and all 26 extra points.

Graham played for Buffalo in 2001 and Carolina in 2002 before joining Cincinnati the next year. He was waived by Baltimore just before this season then played one game with the New York Giants before they waived him Oct. 18.

His 85.2 field goal percentage is the fifth best in league history. He's missed just three of 283 extra points.

"I think the fact that I haven't been on a team every game this year makes me a little hungry and makes me look forward to getting my career going on again and doing what I can to help this team win," Graham said.

The Patriots made another change in their kicking game, releasing long snapper Jake Ingram and replacing him with Matt Katula, who was cut this summer by the Ravens after spending the previous five seasons as their long snapper. Zoltan Mesko remains the holder.

New England also signed cornerback Thad Turner to the practice squad. He was waived by the Indianapolis Colts in August.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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