For all the talk about Tom Brady’s age, he isn’t the oldest player in the NFL. One of his former teammates is.
But to hear that former teammate, Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, talk, he’s not planning on retiring anytime soon either.
Record-breaking season likely ahead
Vinatieri, who will celebrate his 46th birthday on December 28, is entering his 12th season with the Colts.
Currently, he has scored the second-most points in NFL history, behind only Hall of Famer Morten Andersen. Andersen finished his career with 2,544 points; Vinatieri is 57 points behind, at 2,387. He’s also seven behind Andersen’s mark of 565 in career made field goals.
Indianapolis struggled offensively last year so it may not be the best indicator, but based on Vinatieri’s 109 total points in 2017, assuming he’s healthy he’ll break the total points record in the middle of the season.
There’s also one more record Vinatieri can break this year: wins. George Blanda was part of 209 wins; with five Colts victories, Vinatieri will surpass Blanda.
But the kicker likely won’t have that last record for long — Brady enters this season with 196 career regular-season wins. Even if the Patriots have what counts for them as a bad year, with only 10 wins, Brady, who still plans on playing until he’s 45, will get that mark in 2018.
No end in sight
Blanda, the Hall of Fame quarterback and kicker, played until he was 48 years and 109 days old, the oldest player in league history. If Vinatieri wants that record, he has to play until at least Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Getting those marks, and a fifth Super Bowl ring, are what kept him going all these years.
“Obviously this all-time leading scorer thing I knew was out there and I thought, ‘Man, if I stay healthy, I would like to reach that goal,'” Vinatieri told the Colts’ website. “But for me, like I said before, more importantly if our team is a team that is a contender to continue to make playoffs and have a chance to play in another Super Bowl and stuff, that is a huge, huge driving factor for me.”
Undrafted out of South Dakota State in 1995, Vinatieri was signed by New England in 1996, after a season with the Amsterdam Admirals of the World League.
“I love it as much today as I had when I started 23 years ago,” Vinatieri said. “I’m not looking to hang them up anytime soon, unless something happens that needs to be that way.
“I guess I’ll take these one year at a time and see where it ends up. 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.”
‘We are all Hoosiers now’
In an effort to have his leg, the Colts don’t have Vinatieri handle kickoffs anymore; last year, he made 29-of-34 field goals, with a long of 54 yards, and 22-of-24 extra points.
He re-signed with the Colts in part because he believes the team has a chance to make the playoffs, and after so many years, Indianapolis is home.
“We have a lot of things that can make this team successful and I look at this as a team that can make the playoffs moving forward. And that was a big decision for me,” he said. “I clearly wanted to stay in Indy. My family lives here. Everybody, we love the state of Indiana. We are all Hoosiers now. But I also felt like I wanted to play for a team that can win and I feel like (general manager) Chris Ballard and hiring (head coach) Frank (Reich), I talked to Frank a little bit as well, I think these two gentlemen can definitely turn this organization around so I’m happy and excited to sign with this team and to see where we can go with it.”
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