He’s got his kids’ OK to keep kicking.
Adam Vinatieri would like to continue to do that for the Indianapolis Colts next season.
The NFL’s oldest player just turned 43 last month, yet proved in a 20th NFL season his trusty right leg can still convert 50-yard field goals. He said in recent years he expected to be able to do that well into his 40s.
This past season, Vinatieri made 25-of-28 field goals, including four-of-five from 50 yards or more. He missed his first field-goal try of the season from 52 yards at Buffalo, but made the last four from the longest distances of 54, 50, 55 and 52 yards.
“I’m planning on it,” Vinatieri said in late December, as the Colts’ 8-8 season was coming to a close. “As long as I’m feeling well and can help the team win, yeah, another contract, hopefully they’ll want to keep me around. If not here, then somebody will hopefully. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke last week of the team’s need to get younger. But that doesn’t mean he was referring to Vinatieri, arguably the greatest clutch kicker in league history.
Earlier that Monday, as the Colts packed up their lockers after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011, Vinatieri sounded upbeat about kicking again.
“The funny thing is, I’ve asked my kids, ‘What do you think? Should Dad keep going?” he said. “All of ‘em seem to think it’s pretty cool. The older they get, the more they understand that it’s a give and take obviously with less family time during the season, but I think they’re OK with it.
“I get to spend the next couple of months doing all that stuff, taking the kids to school and spending more time (with them), so I think we’ll be alright.”
Vinatieri made 30-of-31 field goals in 2014 to earn his third Pro Bowl nod as well as an All-Pro first-team selection. He produced two-game winning field goals, boosting his career total of deciding kicks in the fourth quarter or overtime to 26.
The four-time Super Bowl winner delivered game-winning kicks in two of those games for the New England Patriots. Whenever he does retire, he’s considered a strong Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate to become just the second kicker enshrined.
He’s made 503-of-598 field goals (84.1 percent) in two decades. He’s the only player to have 1,000 points with two teams, the Patriots and Colts, and is the NFL’s active points leader with 2,253 points.
“I don’t think I’m lost much if any strength,” he said. “It’s just a matter of recovery time. You need to take care of your body a little bit more.”
“Mr. Clutch” doesn’t consider age a deterrent.
“I’m not planning on slowing down any time soon,” he said.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.