As the world obsesses over how much longer Tom Brady will play, another key member of the New England Patriots dynasty continues to defeat Father Time amid far less fanfare.
Adam Vinatieri, whose clutch field goals in the early 2000s cemented his place in Patriots lore, still is kicking for the Indianapolis Colts at age 45, and it sounds like he’s not yet considering retirement.
“I love it as much today as I had when I started 23 years ago,” Vinatieri recently said, according to Colts.com. “I’m not looking to hang them up anytime soon, unless something happens that needs to be that way.”
Vinatieri, who signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 1996, spent 10 seasons in New England, winning three Super Bowl titles, before joining the Colts in 2006. He since has earned a fourth ring and is entering his 13th season as Indianapolis’ kicker (his 23rd season overall).
Obviously, Vinatieri doesn’t have anything left to prove. Money probably isn’t a problem, either. Yet here he is, still plugging along, now needing just seven field goals and 58 points to break Morten Anderson’s all-time records of 565 and 2,544, respectively.
Vinatieri, who turns 46 in December, currently is the oldest player on an NFL roster. George Blanda, also a kicker, was 48 years and 109 days old when he became the oldest player in NFL history back in 1976.
“I guess I’ll take these one year at a time and see where it ends up,” Vinatieri said, per Colts.com. “I would anticipate if I can stay healthy and be productive, I can anticipate catching up to Morten midseason or thereabout, and I guess at the end of the year I’d be 46.
“I’m not putting anything out of reach. I’m not looking and saying, ‘No way,’ or ‘For sure.’ But again, like I said, I just want to help our team be as productive as possible this year, and if everything works out well, hopefully we’ll be having this conversation again next year.”
Brady may or may not have hinted recently that he intends to play until he’s 45 years old. Meanwhile, one of his former teammates already is accomplishing that goal — with no end in sight.
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