BY NICK ST. DENIS
Time flies. Vinatieri's successor, Stephen Gostkowski, isn't far behind in the Patriots' tenure-length sweepstakes. (photo: Keith Allison, Flickr)
Gostkowski is entering his eighth year with New England -- Vinatieri was a Patriot for a full decade.
"I tell people this is like my second senior year of college," Gostkowski told ESPNBoston.com last week. "It's great to have been able to stick in one place for so long."
Unlike most organizations, the Patriots clearly see the value of keeping their kicker in place as long as possible. It's obviously a method that has worked. Vinatieri won three Super Bowls with the Patriots (and another with the Indianapolis Colts), and Gostkowski currently boasts the franchise's highest make-percentage.
As ESPN Boston notes, quarterback Tom Brady, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and guard Logan Mankins are the only Patriots who have been in New England longer than Gostkowski.
But that doesn't mean he's complacent.
"Just because you've been in the league for a while doesn't give you the right to stay in the league," Gostkowski said, "so you have to work just as hard to prove yourself, year in and year out."
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