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Piece of WNY stays with Gostkowski

INDIANAPOLIS -- New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski lived in Buffalo from ages 2 to 10. Both of his parents graduated from Maryvale High School in Cheektowaga. They've moved away. But Gostkowski's grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles still live in Western New York. Gostkowski went to high school in Mississippi and went to college at Memphis in Tennessee. He's in his sixth season with the Pats and had another good year, making 28 of 33 kicks. He was All-Pro in 2008.

Gostkowski has been a big Sabres fan much of his life, but now that he's living in New England he roots for the defending champion Boston Bruins.

"I'm a converted Bruins fan," he said. "I have a couple friends on the team. My family, they're definitely Bills fans. But obviously when we play the Bills, they're Patriots fans."

Gostkowski said he never felt extra pressure in New England due to the fact he replaced the team's greatest kicker, Adam Vinatieri.

"All I did was kick," he said. "They told me just do your job and you'll be fine. That's all I worried about. It's not like I personally kicked the guy out of the organization. It was nothing I ever worried about and I don't worry about things I can't control. I just try to show up and do my job."


Patriots rookie defensive back Sterling Moore has asserted himself in the team's nickel defense after being cut on Dec. 10, then re-signed on Dec. 23. Moore had two interceptions in the regular-season finale against Buffalo. Moore's description of those two plays:

"One was a curl. One was an out. The curl, they had a false start on the play before, and it was a repeat play. They ran the same play the play before. I was conscious of that. That's what that team does. From film study, you know they're going to be a repeat team on penalties."

The second pickoff, on an out route, was returned by Moore 21 yards for a touchdown.

"He had actually got me on that route earlier in the game. The ball wasn't thrown to him. I knew if they came back to it he was going to run the out instead of the in. So I tried to jump it."


Peyton Manning isn't ready to discuss retirement yet.

The four-time league MVP told reporters Tuesday he doesn't plan to stop playing and that his recovery from a third neck surgery is on schedule.

"My plan hasn't changed," Manning said at a hotel after media day at Lucas Oil Stadium featuring the Giants and Patriots. "I'm on track with what the doctors have told me to do, and I'm doing that. I'm rehabbing hard."

When asked about reports he may soon retire, he responded: "I have no plans on doing that."

Manning's shadow has been looming over the NFL title game for days, and it doesn't show signs of going away anytime soon though he wishes he wasn't such a distraction.

"It's not the way it should be," he said earlier in a taped interview with ESPN. "I really don't think it will be as the week goes on."


Pats QB Tom Brady on his Super Bowl rings: "My first one I gave to my dad. The other two I have locked up somewhere. They're pretty gaudy."