Tom Brady's famous departure from the England Patriots marked the end of an era. But there's something symbolic about the latest longtime mainstay to leave Foxborough that really makes it feel like that the curtain has fallen on a 20-year run of dominance.
Stephen Gostkowski, four-time Pro Bowl kicker and the leading scorer in Patriots franchise history, will reportedly be released Monday.
That sound you hear is a million quarantined New Englanders pouring one out -- a Narragansett tallboy, probably -- for their celebrated kicker.
Gostkowski joined the Patriots in 2006 as a fourth-round draft pick out of Memphis; he's never played for another professional team. He had massive shoes to fill as the successor to the legendary Adam Vinatieri, but he did it and then some, winning three Super Bowl rings.
For good measure, he set the NFL record by hitting 479 straight PATs without a miss.
Now, at age 36 and coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him felled by a hip injury, he suddenly faces an uncertain future after so many years as just abut the surest thing in the kicking world. If we needed any more evidence that the door has been shut on this epoch of Patriots history, it's right there.