As the Indianapolis Star is busy trumpeting their own interview with Adam Vinatieri as "breaking news" announcing that he's going to keep playing in 2016 (something he had already said the day after the season ended, which the Star brushes aside as not being the official decision), one interesting tidbit still managed to result from the interview: Vinatieri isn't just thinking about 2016 but rather intends to play longer than that.
"Not only a season, but Lord willing, a couple of years," Vinatieri told the Star's Zak Keefer. "There will come a time when it's over for me. I don't think that time is yet. I enjoy playing. I enjoy doing my thing."
While Vinatieri wants to come back and continue playing, he'll need to sign a new contract in order to do so as he's set to become a free agent this offseason. Of course, it seems like a foregone conclusion that he'll be back with the Colts, as that's where he wants to be and owner Jim Irsay said that the team wants to keep him around. There's really no reason, then, why he shouldn't be the kicker for the Colts in 2016 (and perhaps for a few more years), which would be his eleventh in Indy after ten in New England.
The 43-year old kicker is by far the oldest and longest-tenured player in the NFL, and he has been better than ever in recent seasons. In 2015, Vinatieri ended the year by converting 25 field goals in a row after missing his first two attempts of the season, while in 2014 he made his first 30 field goals of the year before missing his final field goal attempt. He was a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl selection in 2014, while in 2013 he set career highs for field goals made (35) and field goals attempted (40). Of his five seasons above 90% in field goal percentage, two of them have come in the past two years. Clearly, the four-time Super Bowl champion is as good as ever.
Vinatieri admitted to Pro Football Talk last week that he has his eye on Morten Anderson's career record of 2,544 points scored, which seems to be a motivating factor to his returning. Vinatieri is third on the career scoring list with 2,253 points, putting him 291 behind Anderson. By playing another three years (perhaps two if he's really good), Vinatieri would likely set that record, and the same could be said about the career field goals record (Vinatieri is third on that list as well, 62 converted field goals behind Anderson's record). At this point in his career that's a long way to go, but if he's talking about wanting to play multiple seasons still, it could be that he has his eye on those records.
Whether he reaches those marks or not, Vinatieri will go down as one of the best kickers in league history and will likely wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. First, however, he wants to continue helping the Colts and hopefully win another Super Bowl with the franchise.