At 43 years of age, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is still among the very best in the National Football League at what he does, and after another very successful season, he has no plans of hanging up the cleats.
Vinatieri, who just completed his 20th NFL season and will be a free agent this offseason, said today that he wants to return in 2016.
Adam Vinatieri says without question, he wants to play next season.— Mike Berman (@MikeBermanIndy) January 4, 2016
Adam Vinatieri says he wants to return. pic.twitter.com/pBZmLDl2sE— Jason Spells (@JasonSpells) January 4, 2016
For the Colts, then, this one becomes a no-brainer. Vinatieri is set to become a free agent but there's no reason whatsoever for the Colts not to bring him back. The only real question was whether Vinatieri would decide to retire following this season (a discussion that will take place every year when it's a guy Vinatieri's age), but the oldest player in the NFL sounds pretty set on returning for a 21st season. There is absolutely no reason for it not to be with the Colts.
This season, Vinatieri converted 25 of 27 field goal attempts (including 12 of 13 from 40+ yards), making 25 in a row to end the season after missing his first two kicks. He didn't miss a single field goal in the final 14 weeks of the regular season, and the 25 made field goals in a row is the fourth-longest streak in Colts history. The second-longest streak in team history was actually set by Vinatieri last year, as he hit his first 30 kicks of the year (to bring his streak to 35 in a row) before missing his last field goal attempt of the season (he finished 30 of 31 on the year). And then in 2013, he hit 35 field goals (on 40 attempts), the third-most in a single-season in team history. Over the last three seasons, Vinatieri has hit 90 of 98 field goals (91.8%) and is 41 of 47 from 40+ yards (87.2%). He also has converted 116 of 119 extra points (97.5%), with the only three misses coming this season with the extra point rule change.
Vinatieri is the Colts' all-time leader in points scored, field goals made, field goals attempted, 50+ yard field goals made, and is second in field goal percentage (just 1.1% behind Mike Vanderjagt). He just finished his tenth season in Indianapolis after spending ten seasons in New England, and Vinatieri is one of the greatest kickers in NFL history. Believe it or not, he is actually enjoying the most successful statistical stretch of his career currently, so it should be an easy decision for the Colts to bring him back. Since it sounds like he's ready to play another season, I'd expect Adam Vinatieri to be a Colt in 2016.