FOXBORO, Mass. — Even when the locked-out Patriots have a free pass to get into Gillette Stadium, they still need to use a little effort to walk through the doors.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski and defensive lineman Ron Brace took part in the Patriots' Community MVP charity event Thursday at Gillette, and they each took a different route to get into the building.
Brace drove straight up to the security gate, but when it wouldn't open for him, he had to do a little pleading.
"I went to the little security post, and I'm so used to the bar coming up and letting me in," said Brace, who noted it was a "little weird" being back at Gillette. "Just kind of wondering why the bar didn't come up this time. I had to talk to [the security guard]. It makes me more anxious to want to get back and start working. I miss playing."
Gostkowski, the savvier veteran, didn't take his chances at the security gate. Rather, he veered off into a different parking lot and acted like a patron at Patriot Place.
"I didn't want to have that problem," said Gostkowski, who was referencing Brace's security snafu. "I didn't want to get kicked away. I knew where I was going. I just acted like I was going to the movie theater."
Brace, who has taken several trips to the Patriot Place movie theater this offseason, has remained in the area throughout the lockout because, well, he grew up in Springfield, Mass., and still lives in his home state. Gostkowski typically spends his offseasons working out in Foxboro, but he has remained at home in Memphis while rehabbing his right quadriceps.
Both enjoyed the unique opportunity to return to Gillette, particularly since they were in the building with owner Robert Kraft, who was responsible for locking them out in the first place.
"It was cool," Gostkowski said. "I've been here so many times in the past, and it didn't feel any different to me. It was nice to see Mr. Kraft. It was definitely nice to see a teammate, Ron, and I've caught up with a couple teammates the past couple days. Just itching to get back at it. Whenever this stuff resolves, it will resolve, and we'll be back and it will be all normal again. I'm looking forward to when it happens and not going to worry about anything until it does."