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22 seasons…and counting for Vinatieri

At 44 years of age, Adam Vinatieri is the oldest active player in the NFL, and the place kicker still doesn’t see an end in sight to his prolific career.

As offseason workouts continue at team headquarters, Vinatieri greeted the media on Tuesday with a full beard – almost all of it grey.

“It started off being lazy, and then I just kind of kept going with it. I’m thinking there’s a Just for Men endorsement out there somewhere,” he joked.

After going un-claimed in the 1995 draft the joke has been on all the teams that passed him over. After a season in NFL Europe, Vinatieri signed with the Patriots in 1996. After a great run in New England, he joined the Colts in 2006. Now he’s preparing for his 22nd season in the league, and he’s certainly got this offseason thing down to a science.

“I would say I’ve got a pretty good routine that we tweak a little bit if need be. I wouldn’t say it’s set in stone, but we’ve got a pretty good understanding of what we need to do during the offseason, what I need to do during the offseason to be ready come game time.”

And after all these years, he still enjoys coming to work.

“It’s fun getting back here. It’s fun getting back to work. The first couple of weeks it doesn’t matter how good of shape you are in. They are pushing us all pretty hard right now so there is a little stiffness and soreness involved, but that’s the eye opener and the make sure you are ready to go thing.”

44 years old, 22 seasons, and still putting them through the uprights. At this rate, he’ll be in his 50’s before he hears his name called in Canton; and that beard will be all grey by then.