In Adam Vinatieri’s rookie season in 1996 Los Del Rio’s The Macrena was the number one song, mobile phones were only a luxury of the rich, people were still watching movies on VHS tapes and the internet didn’t exist in many countries. Things have changed a lot in those 18 years but the one thing that remains the same is Vinatieri in a football uniform.
“I get a lot of players that call me Mr. Vinatieri than Adam or sir, I think it is an ongoing joke. But, I flip them a little crap back and tell them my pension is probably bigger then their base salary,” said Vinatieri.
“There is no reason to give a player like that slack. I do call him old man which I think he is okay with. But, a guy like that you have to respect because he was I hope to be one day,” added Colts punter Pat McAfee.
With Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson retiring in the offseason after 21 years in the NFL the torch has been passed to Vinatieri. The Colts kicker is now as the oldest active player in the NFL. He’s already proved to be one of the best of all time, winning four Super Bowl rings with two different teams.
“The whole league, this whole locker room, this whole organization, everybody in the National Football League respects what he’s done, what he means to the NFL, what he means to everybody as a football player, as a man. Across the board, the guy is just a consummate pro. We had the, I’m sure everybody watched the enshrinement ceremony last night, it was unbelievable and I’m sure we’re going to be watching Adam someday giving his Hall of Fame speech. My challenge to everybody else, we always talk about legacy. Adam’s written his and is continuing to write his legacy and he’s going to leave behind a great one. So our challenge to everybody else is emulate a guy like Adam. Learn from him. Learn what it takes to be a pro day in and day out because it’s not easy, it takes a ton of sacrifice and a ton of hard work,” said Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano.
For Vinatieri the secret to staying fresh is not over doing it in the preseason. You’ve heard of a pitch count in baseball well he’s on a kick count during training camp.
“The mental preparation is just as important as the physical side of it. We kick every other day and we keep track of how many we are kicking and what we are doing. So, you work on the things on the day that you are kicking and work mentally on stuff when you are not kicking and hopefully it works out,” said Vinatieri.
Vinatieri’s contract is up in 2014 and retiring isn’t even on his radar. He hopes to still be a few years away from making that kind of decision.