FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With 14-year veteran Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve and likely out for the remainder of this season, the Patriots aren’t taking any chances with his replacement. According to media reports (ESPN, then NFL Network), New England is signing an experienced NFL veteran to fill Gostkowski’s spot to the 53-man roster, as well as a relative unknown commodity for a vacancy on the practice squad.
The Patriots are certainly acquainted with 37-year-old Mike Nugent, who began his pro career with the New York Jets in 2005. He faced the Patriots twice a year as a Jet from that year through 2008, but spent the bulk of his time in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals (2010-16). He last appeared in three games for the Oakland Raiders last season and is a career 81-percent accurate on field goal attempts, 96-percent when it comes to point after attempts.
Since 2015, when the NFL moved the extra point distance from 20 yards to 33, Nugent (5-10, 190) has kicked exactly 100 PATs across the league, converting 90 of them.
In 25-year-old Younghoe (pronounced YOUNG-way) Koo, the Patriots have a developmental prospect with whom to work. His only previous NFL experience came as a Los Angeles Charger in 2017. In four appearances, Koo (5-9, 185) went 9-for-9 on extra points, but just 3-of-6 in the field goal category. Koo kicked collegiately at Georgia Southern.
The need to replace Gostkowski arose this week when the team placed their longtime placekicker on injured reserve. Subsequent media reports (first by The Boston Globe) indicated that Gostkowski is dealing with a hip injury. ESPN later specified that the kicker will need season-ending surgery to fix the problem.
The only other time Gostkowski (who is sometimes known by the nickname "Ghost") has missed action since being drafted by New England in 2006 was during the 2010 season. That year, he missed half the season after being placed on IR with a quadriceps injury in his right (kicking) leg. That year, the team signed veteran Shayne Graham to fill in for the remainder of the season and he went a perfect 12 for 12 in field goal attempts, with a pair of unsuccessful extra points.