Adam Vinatieri Will Return for 23rd Season in 2018; Colts Future Uncertain

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2017

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) kicks a field goal alongside punter Rigoberto Sanchez (2) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

Adam Vinatieri announced after the Indianapolis Colts' 23-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday that he's planning to return for a 23rd NFL season, according to Colts.com's Andrew Walker.  

Vinatieri, 44, has anchored the Indianapolis Colts' kicking game since 2006, and he's proved over the past few years that age is just a number. 

The oldest active player in the NFL, Vinatieri has remained effective since turning 40. That much was clear in 2014, when the four-time Super Bowl champion made a career- and league-high 96.8 percent of his field goals.

Vinatieri banged home 92.6 percent of his attempts the following season, and he's been above 80 percent the ensuing two campaigns. 

After posting an 87.1 percent conversion rate in 2016, Vinatieri has successfully booted 84.4 percent of his attempts in 2017, including going 6-of-7 between 40-49 yards and 4-of-5 from at least 50 yards out. 

With one game remaining in his 22nd season, Vinatieri ranks second all-time behind Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen in total points (2,479) and made field goals (557). 

But with a return to the gridiron on deck, Vinatieri appears poised to eclipse Andersen's marks before he calls it a career. 

The question moving forward is where Vinatieri—who was the only unanimous selection to the NFL's Super Bowl 50 Golden Teamwill lace up his cleats in 2018 since he's scheduled to become a free agent when the new league year begins in March. 

"Indianapolis is home to me and my family. I love the Irsay family, but I understand this is a business," Vinatieri said, per Walker. "I just know I'm going to play another year."

Despite the uncertainty, Vinatieri's body of work speaks for itself and should be able to land him a job in Indianapolis or elsewhere as teams across the league look for steadier place-kicking solutions before the start of next season.  

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