Josh Gable

Could trick-shot kicker return to Patriots in 2020 after practice squad release?

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USA TODAY Sports

Could trick-shot kicker return to Patriots in 2020 after practice squad release?

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots' rare instability at kicker has forced them to get creative.

The Patriots raised a few eyebrows Wednesday by signing Josh Gable -- a "YouTube star" with no college football kicking experience best known for his trick shot videos -- to their practice squad.

Gable's tenure in New England was short-lived, as the Patriots released him Friday.

So, why use a practice squad spot on a kicker only to cut him two days later?

"We had a spot available on the practice squad, and it gave us an opportunity to look at a younger kicker," head coach Bill Belichick said Friday.

" ... Rather than just (have him) come in and do a workout, we were actually able to (have him) kick with the team and put him on the practice squad for a couple days."

Belichick said the Patriots have no plans to move away from Nick Folk as their starting kicker this season. 

But getting Gable in for essentially a multi-day tryout allowed New England to explore a potential kicking option for 2020.

"We'll worry about that next year," Belichick said. " ... Put that in the bank, and maybe it comes up later on at some point in time down the road. Maybe it doesn’t. I’m not sure."

Such is the reality for the Patriots, who lost Stephen Gostkowski to season-ending hip surgery in October and have cycled through Mike Nugent, Kai Forbath, Folk and Younghoe Koo (practice squad) since.

Gostkowski turns 36 in January and is entering the final year of his contract, so Belichick has good reason to get a head start on contingency kicking options for 2020.

That's assuming New England doesn't stick with Folk: The veteran has been the most consistent of Gostkowski's replacements this season, connecting on eight of 11 field goals and making all four of his extra-point attempts.

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Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

The NFL's roster merry-go-round never stops, and the Patriots kept busy on the transaction wire Wednesday by signing three players to their practice squad: DE Eric Lee, DB Adarius Pickett, and K Josh Gable.

Gable's addition is the most out-of-the-box, as Phil Perry explained earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old never played college football, but made a name for himself with compilations of trick shot videos on YouTube. Gable most recently played for the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, where he went 6-for-16 on field goals and 50-for-57 on extra points.

The Patriots had brought him in for a workout earlier this season, but ultimately signed Mike Nugent, who only lasted four games.

As for Lee, this marks his second stint in Foxboro. New England signed the 25-year-old late in the 2017 season, and he racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and an interception in his first two games.

He played in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles, but didn't survive roster cuts for the 2018 season. He bounced on and off the Lions active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons.

Pickett, the final practice squad addition, is an undrafted rookie out of UCLA who spent some time with the Bears and Chargers earlier this year.

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Patriots sign trick-shot kicker to the practice squad

Patriots sign trick-shot kicker to the practice squad

FOXBORO — Might as well, right? 

The Patriots have had to trot out four different place kickers in 2019. Three of them have come aboard since Stephen Gostkowski went on season-ending injured reserve. They had another, Younghoe Koo, on the practice squad for a time. 

They're trying everything there. And while Nick Folk has been solid — as solid as a third option could be — the Patriots aren't going to prevent themselves from seeking out ways to improve that spot. 

Even if that means bringing in a YouTube star. 

According to ESPN, the team has signed trick-shot kicker Josh Gable to its practice squad. Gable was out at practice on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Patriots worked out Gable earlier this year but the job went to Mike Nugent. Then Nugent was released in favor of Folk. When Folk had to get his appendix out, Kai Forbath came aboard. 

Now Gable will have a chance to impress on an NFL roster. At least for a time. He did not play college football, and played pro soccer in Europe for a time. He played in the Indoor Football League for the Nebraska Danger and Tucson Sugar Skulls. 

Gable's videos show some clear athleticism and a strong leg, but he'll be tested in the elements in New England (it snowed in the Foxboro area early Wednesday morning). He'll have his hands full carving out a role.

But at this point, for the Patriots, why not? 

The Patriots had multiple practice-squad spots open after two of their p-squad players, defensive back Nate Brooks and offensive linemen Tyler Gauthier, were signed to the active rosters of the Dolphins and Jaguars, respectively. There was a new (at this point unannounced) practice-squad defensive back at Wednesday's practice as well.

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