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Adam Vinatieri not thinking about retirement yet

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Age is only a number.

Adam Vinatieri is proving that true with each passing year, as the 44-year old kicker is returning for a 22nd season in 2017, his 12th with the Colts. He just keeps going, and he’s not thinking about hanging up his cleats yet.

“Yeah, you know I still love the game as much as I ever have,” Vinatieri said, according to Colts.com (h/t Pro Football Talk). “It’s fun running out onto the field. It’s much more fun playing in the playoffs. Cleaning out your locker the first week of January is not a whole lot of fun and it always leaves a lousy taste in your mouth. I still love running out onto the field. I still think I can help our team win games and why not keep going?”

Vinatieri is right: he can indeed still help the Colts win games. Last year, Vinatieri converted 27 of 31 field goal attempts, ranking tied for ninth in the league with an 87% success rate. He also made 17 of 21 kicks from 40+ yards (81%) and all 44 extra point tries. He has been incredibly successful during his time in Indy, and in fact over the last seven years he’s only made less than 85% of his field goals once (2012; 78.8%). Over the last four seasons, Vinatieri has made 117 of 129 field goal attempts (90.7%) and 58 of 68 tries from 40+ yards (85.3%).

The veteran is entering the final year of his contract, though if he continues to kick the way he has over the last few years the Colts likely would re-sign him. Vinatieri has his sights set on some very notable career achievements, too, as he’s just eight made field goals away from second place all-time and just 35 away from first place. Additionally, he’s just 56 points away from second place in NFL history and just 160 points away from first. He should move into second in both categories in 2017, but to get to first place might take an additional season after that.

He says he’s not considering retirement yet, and considering those milestones within reach and the way he’s been kicking over the last several years, that shouldn’t be surprising. Vinatieri said in January that he plans on playing a couple more years, and his latest comments just seem to back that up: he’s still loving football and playing the game and he’s not considering retirement just yet.