Adam Vinatieri’s NFL Future With Colts Seems to Be in Doubt
Vinatieri has a knee issue and underwent an MRI after practice on Wednesday
Things have started to come full circle for Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Vinatieri, the NFL’s all-time leader in points with 2,673, missed four of his first seven field goals as well as an extra point during his first three games kicking for the New England Patriots in 1996.
Despite the string of misses, New England coach Bill Parcells decided to stick with him and was rewarded when Vinatieri drilled five-of-six field goals in the Patriots’ fourth game, including the game-winner in overtime.
Now, more than two decades later, the 46-year-old is kicking for the Indianapolis Colts. But for how much longer remains to be seen.
Vinatieri has been extremely shaky this season for the Colts as he’s made just 17-of-25 field-goal attempts (68.0 percent) and 22-of-28 extra points (78.6 percent). In his 24-year career, this is the first time Vinatieri has been under 70 percent on field goals and under 90 percent on extra points.
Injury may at least partially be to blame as Vinatieri is listed on the team’s injury report this week with a knee issue and underwent an MRI after practice on Wednesday.
In a corresponding move, Indianapolis claimed kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers after he was cut by the San Francisco 49ers.
Vinatieri is reportedly meeting with team brass and doctors Thursday morning to “determine what’s next.”
Given how his struggles kicking the ball have directly affected the team’s win-loss record — the Colts have lost four games by six points or fewer this season — it certainly seems possible the team will elect to shut their longtime kicker down and roll with McLaughlin for the rest of the season.
“Chase was a guy [general manager] Chris Ballard and his staff had targeted, a guy they had some interest in,” Colts coach Frank Reich said of the decision to claim McLaughlin. “The timing was right with Adam’s little deal that we should take a look at this.”
McLaughlin made 7-of-8 field-goal attempts with the 49ers and has drilled all 15 of his extra-point tries this season.
If Vinatieri is forced to hang up his cleats, he’ll be the second high-profile Colt to leave Indianapolis this year after franchise quarterback Andrew Luck retired prior to the season beginning.
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