Adam Vinatieri has spent exactly the same amount of time with the Indianapolis Colts (10 seasons) that he spent with the New England Patriots. At age 43, he is the oldest player in the NFL.
But even though Father Time is bearing down on Vinatieri, who has more gray hairs now than he did while cementing himself as a Super Bowl legend with the Patriots, the Colts kicker still has no plans to retire. In fact, he recently signed a two-year, $6 million contract with Indianapolis.
?Proof is the product that you put on the field,? Vinatieri recently told ESPN.com. ?I still enjoy the game as much as I ever have. Obviously it?s a statistics game. We get judged on how we do on the field and hopefully, I think, the last couple of years I?ve proven to myself and to everybody else that I can still get it done and I?m not too old yet.?
Vinatieri started his career with the Pats in 1996 and stuck around in New England through the 2005 season, at which point he signed with Indianapolis. It was reasonable to wonder then how long Vinatieri’s career would last, yet here we stand a decade later still pondering the same question.
?I enjoy running out on that field in front of all of our fans and putting on that helmet and being part of this team and just being in the locker room things,? Vinatieri said, per ESPN.com. ?Obviously it happens to everybody. I look at some of the greatest players that played. At some point it has to come to an end, but I felt like the past two years and where we were at the end of the season, I felt like I could still continue on.
“Will that change years down the road? Sure. … It passes us all by at some point, but I don?t think I?m there yet.?
Vinatieri’s self-confidence isn’t without merit. He connected on 30 of 31 field-goal attempts during the 2014 season — his 96.8 percent conversion rate was tops in the NFL — and followed it up with a 2015 campaign in which he drilled 25 consecutive field goals after missing his first two attempts of the season.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection no longer kicks off — punter Pat McAfee handles the kickoff duties for Indianapolis — and his new contract could be his last, but Vinatieri still is splitting the uprights, staying healthy and, most importantly, loving the job he’s been so good at for so long.
Thumbnail photo via Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports Images