Twenty years into a kicking career that launched before the NFL's salary cap era, Matt Stover becomes a free agent on Friday. Absent a contract offer to play in a family-friendly environment, he says he will retire from the game.
"I'm willing to let this thing go at the drop of a hat if that's what is best for my family," the former Ravens kicker said.
"My heart isn't in it to play just to play. It's to make a difference for a team and create security in a position that maybe somebody else couldn't give them."
Maybe another team will get sick of their horrid kicker and decide to bring in Stover mid-season, but that doesn't seem likely. Despite what many Colts fans feel about Stover missing that 50-yarder in the Super Bowl, I know I certainly appreciate what he was able to do for the Colts after the lost Adam Vinatieri with a knee injury. Ask the Chargers how they feel about their kicking situation, or the Cowboys. Hell, ask anyone who isn't the Saints. Kickers are vital to the success of any team, and when you lose one mid-season, it can destroy your team's chances of winning consistently.
Stover was able to help the Colts steady their kicking game, and it helped them reach the Super Bowl. For a 42-year-old, that's impressive. Here's to a great career, Matt Stover.