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Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski headed to IR

Stephen Gostkowski was noticeably absent from Patriots practice on Wednesday.

The longtime New England kicker will be missing a great deal more time as he is being placed on injured reserve, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The Patriots later announced Gostkowski was placed on IR.

New England worked out kickers -- including veterans Mike Nugent and Kai Forbath -- on Wednesday in search of his replacement, Rapoport added.

The Boston Globe's Jim McBride first reported the news.

Gostkowski, 35, has been a fixture on the Patriots since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2006. Since then, he's won three Super Bowls and been selected to four Pro Bowls with a pair of All-Pro selections.

The man who replaced Adam Vinatieri in New England has come up clutch more times than not and has been a constant, having missed eight games in 2010 but no more time before or after that season until now.

A groundswell of concern had grown in regards to Gostkowski's efficiency this season. Though Gostkowski was seven of eight on field goals through the Patriots' 4-0 start, he was a troubling 11-for-15 on extra points; having missed at least one PAT in three straight games.

Shortly before the season began, the Patriots released punter Ryan Allen, who had been in New England for six seasons and three Super Bowl championships, in favor of rookie Jake Bailey.

Now, the Patriots must replace another formidable foot with no immediate replacement in place.

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