Colts re-sign kicker Adam Vinatieri
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Adam Vinatieri had two wishes in free agency.
He wanted to win one more Super Bowl ring for his thumb, and he wanted to do it with the Colts.
Indianapolis refused to let the 41-year-old kicker slip away Tuesday, re-signing Vinatieri to a new two-year contract just hours before he was to become an unrestricted free agent and after a couple of days spurring interest from other teams.
”It’s always fun to have other teams calling but at the end of the day, they were all very distant competitors in this because I told my wife as long as the Colts want me around and we can get it done, I want to stay here,” Vinatieri said during a conference call. ”It’s nice to know that you’re loved but at the end of the day, being home is much more comfortable than going anywhere else.”
Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available, though Vinatieri repeatedly made it clear his decision was about more than money.
The signing was well-received by Vinatieri’s current and future teammates and coaches. After the deal was first reported, Vinatieri noted that he was quickly contacted by coach Chuck Pagano, punter Pat McAfee and long snapper Matt Overton.
McAfee agreed to a five-year deal to stay in Indy late last week. Long snapper Matt Overton, who went to the Pro Bowl last season, is already under contract.
And at age 41, Vinatieri isn’t sure this will be the last contract he signs, either.
”As long as my body’s feeling healthy, I can’t see why I can’t continue to play,” Vinatieri said. ”I know Morten (Andersen) played until he was 47, I think Gary (Anderson) played until he was 46, so I think I’ve got a few more years left, not just two.”
Vinatieri is widely considered the best clutch kicker in league history.
He made two Super Bowl-winning kicks with New England, where he won three Super Bowl rings. He might be best known, however, for making the tying kick to force overtime and the winning kick in overtime in a driving snowstorm to beat Oakland in the ”Tuck Rule” playoff game. That win helped propel the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title.
He left New England as a free agent following the 2005 season and landed with the Colts, where he immediately won a fourth Super Bowl. The Colts made it back to the Super Bowl following the 2009 season, but lost to New Orleans when Vinatieri was on injured reserve.
And as the league’s oldest player last season, until Jon Kitna signed with Dallas in late December, Vinatieri showed no signs of slowing.
He finished with the second-highest point total of his career (139), made 35 of 40 field goals and became the seventh player in league history to top 2,000 career points. He’s the second player in league history to score at least 800 points with two teams and needs one more 100-point season to break Jason Elam’s career record of 16.
”I realize I’m 41 years old, but I know I can play these two and possibly even more,” Vinatieri said. ”So I’m planning on good years and winning a championship and hopefully we’ll be holding a trophy at the end of this year.”
The Vinatieri signing is the latest in a flurry of moves the Colts have made going into free agency.
They signed former Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson last week, then released starting center Samson Satele to save about $4 million under the new $133 million salary cap. They also tendered three other free agents and re-signed defensive end Fili Moala and linebacker Justin Hickman on Monday.
Indy, which had about $36 million to spend in free agency before the Vinatieri, is expected to look for help along the offensive line and on defense when the free agent market opens later Tuesday.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org