Adam Vinatieri working to get his mind right ahead of Atlanta game

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts to hitting the right upright and missing a point after try during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Indianapolis defeats Tennessee 19-17. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Hours after his most recent forgettable moment, Adam Vinatieri wasn’t having one of those internal debates.

Retirement? After 23-plus seasons, is it time to talk away?

“No,’’ he said without hesitation Tuesday afternoon. “None of us should assume stuff.’’

Instead of pondering his future or dealing with information overload, Vinatieri sought refuge in the backyard of his Carmel home. The greatest kicker in NFL history, who just happens to be mired in arguably the most perplexing funk of his decorated career, needed some quiet time.

“Although it was a million degrees out, I started a fire and I sat by it just to look at the fire,’’ he said. “My wife came and sat by me and didn’t say much, but nothing really needed to be said.’’

The external noise was intensifying in the aftermath of Vinatieri’s (non)-contributions to the Indianapolis Colts’ 19-17 win at Tennessee Sunday afternoon. He missed two more PATs, running his futility to seven missed kicks – four PATs along with 46-, 29-, 23-yard field goal attempts – in his last three games.

After Vinatieri declined to talk with the media after the Titans game, speculation on his future with the Colts increased. He summarily dismissed that idea.

“Sometimes we all need a little bit of time to decompress and think about stuff,’’ he said. “I just needed a little extra time to clear my mind.

“All the nasty, crazy, little funny rumors that we like to spread had nothing to do with any of that. I just needed a little extra time.’’

It’s imperative Vinatieri emerge from this funk sooner, not later. The Colts open their home season Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons visit Lucas Oil Stadium. Despite their 46-year old kicker’s erratic start, they’re in position to get off to their first 2-1 start since 2013.

“I haven’t been hitting the ball as good as I should be,’’ he said. “Obviously I’d like to get back on the making side.’’

Vinatieri insisted he has no plans to dramatically alter his weekly routine. He’ll do his kicking and put in time studying video.

“I’ve kicked a lot of balls over a lot of years and I’m not re-inventing the wheel,’’ he said. “I’m going to go out there and try to do it a little bit cleaner.’’

Vinatieri then offered a comment that indicated much of his troubles might be more mental than physical or operational.

“I’m going to work a lot this week to get those demons out so I can go clear-headed and step on the field and just do my job,’’ he said.

So, there are demons to be exorcised?

“Anybody that has a bad game . . . if you go out golfing and having a good time and you hook a couple of balls, are you thinking about it until you get it figured out?’’ Vinatieri said. “Everybody’s shaking their head, so I guess that means yes.

“I’ll spend some time working those out.’’

Former teammate Pat McAfee wondered whether Vinatieri’s current issues are related to a “plant leg’’ problem. That would be Vinatieri’s left leg. He missed a couple of weeks during the preseason with inflammation in his left knee.

Again, Vinatieri wasn’t in agreement.

“You all know I went through some stuff earlier,’’ he said. “I feel fine. I feel good enough.

“In a course of a season, everybody has something. I plenty healthy enough to do my job.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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