Bill Belichick isn’t known for his warm demeanor or penchant for public praise.
So when the New England Patriots coach heaps accolades on a player, it means something. Even if it comes on top of a pink slip.
News broke on Monday that the Patriots were releasing longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski, a 14-year Patriots veteran who won three Super Bowls and finished his New England career as the team’s all-time leading scorer.
‘A great teammate’
On Tuesday, the Patriots released a statement from Belichick lauding Gostkowski for his success in New England.
Belichick extolled Gostkowski as “a great teammate who made outstanding contributions” after taking over in the shadow of Adam Vinatieri, a likely Hall of Famer whom Belichick describes as “the most accomplished kicker in NFL history.”
Belichick doesn’t make a habit of these kinds of statements, saving them for players he truly values as members of his six-championship tenure in New England.
Other players Belichick’s praised
Tom Brady, of course, was the most recent example prior to Gostkowski. The Patriots released a statement from Belichick upon Brady’s departure last week touting “a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation.”
Belichick’s praised Vinatieri since he left New England as a “great player” and a “great person.”
He choked up when saying goodbye to linebacker Tedy Bruschi upon his 2009 retirement, calling him “the perfect player.”
So it’s not unheard of for Belichick to lavish praise upon former players. But when he does it, he means it.
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