After having a career year in 2008, New Englands Stephen Gostkowski earned the respect of both his peers and fans all over the league as he was selected to his first Pro Bowl in just his second season.
Its an honor and a blessing to be here, Gostkowski said. To just be regarded among the best in your conference and to get selected is an honor in itself.
Despite his AFC teams defeat, the second-year kicker from Memphis still had the time of his life just hanging out.
To just get to hang out around here with the best players, to sit by the pool and have a good time, its awesome, Gostkowski said with a big smile. It stinks that we lost, but it is what it is and hopefully Ill have another chance to come back here. Its an honor to be here and Im not going to let the loss upset me too much.
Normally kickers are some of the loneliest guys on a football team as they are usually introverted and separated from the rest of the players. That apparently wasnt the case in Hawaii, at least for the Patriots kicker.
Everybodys been real nice and real fun to be around and hang out with. Everybodys been real cordial and its special to be in Hawaii.
When asked who his favorite player to meet was, the answer was predictable.
It was cool to meet the Mannings, Stephen told Scout.com. I look up to every one of these guys that Ive seen play. Everybody watches each others games.
Although most Patriots fans would see the past 12 or so months as somewhat of a disappointment, Gostkowski thinks otherwise.
We had a good season whether we made the playoffs or not, Gostkowski rationalized. We were definitely deserving, we had a good enough record to get in, but we couldnt get the tiebreaker to go in our direction.
Stephen sees 2008 as a positive, not just for himself, but the entire team, and he believes that the Pats strong finish will indeed carry over to next year.
Theres always next year, we had a good year. We finished winning four games in a row and did all we could, it just didnt work out for us. It was still a fun year and its much better than having a losing record.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.