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It’s one reason you see their teammates holding hands, kneeling in prayer, or burying their heads in a towel when the kick matters most.

“I definitely feel bad,” said Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski. “It just kind of humbles you. That could just as easily have been me. It’s a bittersweet moment. My heart definitely goes out to him. That’s just not something you wish on anybody.”

Not exactly true.

“I had my eyes closed. I wasn’t going to watch that one,” recalled Patriots guard Matt Light. “That’s a little too much stress for this guy. Unbelievable, man. Things happen for a reason.”

“My heart was beating fast and hoping for that miss,” New England’s Aaron Hernandez recalled. “And the miss came.”

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/Jim Litke.