INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The path has been cleared for Adam Vinatieri’s career to continue, and perhaps conclude, with the Indianapolis Colts.
The decorated placekicker was informed during a Tuesday afternoon meeting with general manager Chris Ballard the team is interested in retaining him. Vinatieri is working under a one-year, $3.625 million contract that expires in early March.
Generally, teams re-sign their own free-agents-to-be in March. Vinatieti has signed five contracts with the Colts since leaving the New England Patriots after the 2005 season.
Ballard was non-committal when asked Monday about Vinatieri’s future with the team.
“Do I think he can still kick in the league and be a really good kicker? Absolutely I do,” Ballard said.
Pressed on whether that would be in Indy, Ballard replied, “We’ll see.”
He was quick to expand on Vinatieri’s value to the team.
“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,” Ballard said. “All of our young guys that come in get to see Adam work, rehab, prepare his body every year, be a pro, handle the hard times, the good times.
“All of that, what Adam brings, brings a lot of value to the team.”
In December, Vinatieri joined George Blanda, Morten Andersen and John Carney as the only players in NFL history to play at age 46. During the season – his 23rd in the NFL and 13th with the Colts – he set all-time records for scoring (2,600 points) and field goals (582).
He registered the 28th game-winning field goal of his career with a 32-yarder as time expired in a 27-24 week 12 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Before missing a 23-yard field goal and PAT in Saturday’s playoff loss at Kansas City, Vinatieri converted 23-of-27 field goals during the season. His misses included a 55-yard attempt in the opener against Cincinnati, a 52-yarder against Jacksonville and a 38-yarder at New England that hit the left upright.
Vinatieri has shown no signs of slippage as his career has unfolded. Over the last six seasons, he’s converted 169-of-190 attempts (88.9 percent), including 27-of-35 (77.1 percent) on attempts of at least 50 yards.
Sunday, Vinatieri said he was going to take a few weeks “to decompress a little bit” before turning his attention to the future.
However, he made it clear throughout the season he wasn’t considering retirement.
“I’m playing it a game at a time, a week at time,” Vinatieri said during the season. “I’ve said it before that if I get through the season, then we’ll see where we’re at.
“Do they have an interest in bringing me back? There’s nothing in me right now that says I’m done. I don’t think I’ve fallen off yet. I still feel like I can put a good product on the field. I still enjoy doing it.”
Vinatieri always huddles with his family following a season and asks for their input.
“My parents are getting older,” he said. “My kids are getting older. They’re in high school. There are a lot of things that go into it.”
Professionally, Vinatieri is driven at the thought of challenging for another Super Bowl championship. He won three with the New England Patriots and added another with the Colts in 2006.
The fact the Colts are on a definite uptick revitalizes him. They reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and won a first-round game at Houston.
“I love this,” he said. “Watching our team climbing and being relevant and being good, that gets you excited.
“If you’re a team that’s 2-14, it’s less fun. This has been fun. This has been a blast.”
This apparently is continuing.