INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 8, 2016) – The NFL’s oldest player continues to call himself a Hoosier, even if he doesn’t know what that means.
Adam Vinatieri, 43 years and kicking like he’s 33, agreed Tuesday to a two-year, $6 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. He can earn an additional $1 million through incentives, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Vinatieri would have become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday, but in reality, that wasn’t likely to happen. Negotiations, though, were anything but seamless.
“It was much more difficult than it needed to be. It was a battle, that’s for sure,’’ Vinatieri said Tuesday evening. “But it’s done and I’m happy about it. It’s never easy when you express how much you want to stick around.
“Ultimately we got a pretty good deal. I wanted to keep playing and I really wanted to stay here. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than playing for the Colts. I’m jacked and ecstatic that I have the opportunity to finish my career here.’’
Other teams showed an interest the past few days and were willing to offer a fatter contract, but “I wanted to stick around.’’
“I’m very, very blessed to be able to call Indy my home,’’ he said. “I felt like I played a whole career in New England and I’m fortunate enough now to be able to play longer for this organization and wear the horseshoe on my helmet moving forward.
“These are my brothers. These are the guys I love. It’s more important for me to try to win another Super Bowl with these guys than it is to go somewhere else and start over.’’
The team was committed to re-signing him and while Vinatieri was certain he would continue playing, he had little interest in relocating. He has settled nicely in Carmel with his wife Valerie, and children A.J., Gabriel and Allison.
“I don’t have to put my house on the market,’’ Vinatieri said with a laugh.
After spending the first 10 years of his NFL career with the New England Patriots, Vinatieri is heading into his 11th with the Colts. He’s a found a home, but still isn’t schooled on the “Hoosier’’ term.
“I know what Hoosier hospitality is and I’ve seen the movie ‘Hoosiers’ and all that,’’ Vinatieri said. “I’m going to say (Hoosier) is somebody that played on the IU basketball team. That’s what a Hoosier is in my mind.’’
Statistically-speaking, Vinatieri has never been better. Over the past two seasons, he’s converted a league-best 55-of-58 field goal attempts (.948). And since 2011, he’s knocked down 17-of-24 attempts of at least 50 yards.
On a grander scale, Vinatieri just keeps going and going and going.
He ranks No. 3 in NFL history with 2,253 points, trailing Morten Andersen (2,544) and Gary Anderson (2,253). He would need to play three seasons to seriously challenge Andersen’s mark.
“In a perfect world I would have signed a three-year deal,’’ Vinatieri said. “It wasn’t in the cards. Hopefully I can play well enough for he next two years that will warrant me playing one more season.’’
Surpassing Andersen, he added, “was never a dream or goal when I first got in the league. I’m not circling that on my major goal list. I’m just going to work my butt off the next couple of years and see where it ends.
“But I would love to challenge it, that’s for sure. That’s a cool thought.’’
Vinatieri has appeared in 306 regular-season games, sixth-most all-time. He also holds postseason records with 30 games and 234 points. He’s appeared in five Super Bowls and contributed to four world championships – three with the Patriots, one with the Colts.
Vinatieri is the only player in league history to play at least 10 seasons and pile up at least 1,000 points with two teams. He’s the Colts’ career scoring leader with 1,095 points.
“I’m hard to get rid of,’’ he said.