Adam Vinatieri Returning To The Colts For 2019 Season
Adam Vinatieri Returning To The Colts For 2019 Season
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INDIANAPOLIS – The GOAT isn’t done yet.
Adam Vinatieri is returning to the Colts in 2019, with Pat McAfee first hinting at the news, and then ESPN’s Adam Schefter offering more confirmation on the one-year deal for Vinatieri.
The 2019 season will be the 24th NFL campaign for Vinny. The NFL’s all-time leading scorer will turn 47 years old in December.
“I’m around him so much and you keep waiting for the shoe to fall, but it doesn’t, because he works," Chris Ballard said of Vinatieri on Friday, when he joined the Dan Dakich show. "He works so hard to take care of his body. He’s such a pro. He’s such an impact. I don’t think I’ve ever said this with a kicker, but take into account a guy’s presence on the team, and they’ve got to perform and he does perform, but his presence on the team is invaluable. It’s valuable to us.”
“Adam is not only one of the greatest Colts in team history, but one of the greatest players in NFL history,” Ballard added in a team release on Monday, when Vinatieri officially put pen to paper on a new contract. “He is an ideal representative for our organization, the Indianapolis community and Colts fans everywhere. We value Adam’s reliability and feel he will continue to kick at a high level. In addition to his performance on the field, he brings a tremendous amount of leadership to our locker room. He sets the standard for what it means to be a professional and how to properly prepare, especially for our younger players. We’re privileged to watch him continue his iconic career for another season.”
This news was hinted at a couple weeks back by the Colts, when Frank Reich expressed a desire to have Vinny back for his 14th season in Indy.
Even Ballard expanded on the type of player/leader the Colts had at kicker at his season-ending press conference.
“Do I think he can still kick in the league and be a really good kicker? Absolutely I do,” Ballard said of Vinny.
“He is as important a guy in that locker room. I don’t know if I’ve been around a special teams player that has as much impact as Adam does in the locker room, from a positive standpoint. All of our young guys that come in get to see Adam Vinatieri work, rehab, prepare his body every year, be a pro, handle the hard times, handle the good times. All of that of what Adam brings, brings a lot of value to this team.”
Vinny finished the 2018 season 23-of-27 on field goals. His 85.2 percent conversion rate was 18th best in the NFL, as Vinny did miss two kicks in a Week Seven win over Buffalo, as he battled through a groin injury.
The 2018 season didn’t end well for Vinny. In adverse conditions in Kansas City, Vinny missed a 23-yard field goal (the shortest of his career) and a 33-yard extra point (which included a bobbled snap).
The highlight of the ’18 season for Vinny came from him passing Morten Andersen for the most points scored in NFL history (2,600) and the most made field goals in league history (582).
Free agency doesn’t officially begin until March 13, but teams can re-sign their own at any point between now and then.
On Monday, after inking his new contract, Vinny had this to say about why he returned to the Colts:
On knowing he wanted to keep on playing:
“Absolutely, yeah. I know after the season I think I said I needed a couple weeks to figure out blah, blah, blah. But it was one of those quick and easy – I knew when we were cleaning out our lockers, I knew this was one of those things I wanted to come back and keep going. There is something special about his locker room. There are lots of great guys in here trending the right way. Just being in this locker room and being around these guys and seeing how we turned the season around and won a bunch of games down the stretch to get into the playoffs, won a playoff game. We obviously didn’t finish the season quite the way we wanted to, but (in) saying that I think lots of good stuff in the future for us. So at that, I just sat there and I went, ‘Man, I’ve got to be a part of this.’ This group of guys is amazing. What we’re doing here in this building is so different. We’ve turned the attitude. Everything about it we have changed around and moving in the right direction. So I definitely wanted to be a part of that moving forward.”
On the makeup of the locker room:
“This locker room is – and everybody says whatever. I don’t know how it is in other locker rooms. I have been here for a long time, but this year has been fun. We’ve got a lot of really, really good unselfish, hardworking players that when Frank (Reich) got here he changed things around. When Chris (Ballard) got here, he changed things around. But the way we practice is different. The way we workout in the weight room, the nutrition, I mean everything is different. Guys just embraced that, accepted that and moved forward. I know at the beginning of the season practice was different. It was upbeat, more intense and all that stuff. Guys just said, ‘Yup, we are going to do this.’ And you could see how that changed as we played games as the season went along. We were in good condition. We were ready to go. I am getting into the football side of it, (but) I guess what I am saying is we have a bunch of guys in this locker room that would do whatever it took to win games. And it was fun (with) guys dancing around. I know it was the trend around the league, but our defense would have an interception and they’re sprinting down to the end zone and striking poses. I mean the sideline was fun, the locker room was fun and I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than being a part of that.”
On if this team trending up played into his decision:
“100 percent. Yeah, 100 percent. Every year you have to reevaluate and think about what are your motivating factors and all that stuff. For me, the fact that this team is a really good team trending up. We’ve got lots of draft choices coming in this next year and we’ve got a very, very good solid, young team that is going to keep trending in that direction and I just feel like with Chris Ballard as the general manager he brings the right guys into this building that are going to help us win. And with Frank Reich and his coaches being the leader that he is and putting game plans together and you just said it yourself, having Andrew (Luck) back on the field you are guaranteed to win a bunch of games because he’s a damn good quarterback. I think with that, plus we’ve got a lot of great young talent and you guys know it too. With (Darius) Leonard and all the guys on offense and all that stuff, I think we are going to win a lot of games this next year and I definitely wanted to be a part of that.”