‘Bittersweet’ departure for Paxton
|02.27.09 at 4:33 pm ET|
Lonie Paxton was one of the senior members of the Patriots’ franchise — only Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk and Tom Brady had been a part of the team longer than the 30-year-old long snapper. That’s why, according to his agent, it was such a difficult decision for him to part ways with New England yesterday.
Paxton signed a five-year deal with Denver that makes him the second-highest paid long snapper in the NFL, trailing only Cleveland’s Ryan Pontbriand, a two-time Pro Bowler. Paxton’s agent Paul Sheehy confirmed the specifics of the deal Friday afternoon to WEEI.com.
“It’s truly bittersweet for Lonie — he loves Boston and the city has been just great to him,” Sheehy wrote in an e-mail. “Same goes for the Pats organization … first-class all the way. It was a life-changing deal financially for him, so as a business decision, it was one which he had to make.”
Paxton has been a big part of the success of New England’s special teams. His steady consistency was a hallmark of the Patriots’ punting, field goal and extra-point units. In addition, he executed flawlessly on several huge occasions, including on the game-tying and game-winning field goals to beat Oakland in the 2001 Divisional Playoffs, as well as the game-winning field goal that beat St. Louis at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI. He’s helped a pair of New England kickers — Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski — reach the Pro Bowl.
“Lonie is the best snapper I’ve seen. He’s pinpoint, on the money,” Gostkowski told me last October. “He takes his job seriously, and is good at what he does. He doesn’t read too much into it. Having a guy who has been there and snapped for a good kicker before, he’s been through different situations. It’s always good to have someone to lean upon. Show you the ropes. Having Lonie here is definitely beneficial for me. He still helps me out, day-to-day.”
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