Adam Vinatieri Announces He Will Return for 21st Season: Comments, Reaction

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2016

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) takes the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

One of the greatest kickers in NFL history has decided to keep his career going, as Adam Vinatieri will be back for at least one more season. 

Vinatieri announced his return Tuesday to Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, making the 2016 season his 21st in the NFL.   

In talking to Keefer about coming back, Vinatieri made it sound like he doesn't have any retirement plans in his future: “Not only a season, but Lord willing, a couple of years. There will come a time when it’s over for me. I don’t think that time is yet. I enjoy playing. I enjoy doing my thing.”

The question now becomes, where will Vinatieri be playing in 2016. The 43-year-old has spent the last 10 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and continues to be money, hitting 25 of his 27 field goal attempts in 2015. 

Vinatieri is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, but he said he expects the Colts will "call me when it’s time" to start negotiating for a new deal. He also said he's been "keeping up" with changes made to Indianapolis' coaching staff in which nine new assistants were brought in. 

Colts owner Jim Irsay told Mike Wells of the team hopes to bring back Vinatieri for an 11th season: “We’d like to retain Adam. We believe he’s still kicking at a high level. He really takes care of himself.”

This is an important offseason for the Colts, who gave contract extensions to head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson coming off an injury-plagued 8-8 season. Irsay recently told Wells there is a "good chance" they will give quarterback Andrew Luck an extension. 

Locking up Vinatieri for even one more season takes away some of the questions facing the Colts as they look to get back into the playoffs. He's to a sure thing as there is in the NFL, hitting 55 of his last 58 field goals since 2014 and owning 26 career game-winning field goals. 

Even at 43 years old, Vinatieri is as good at his position as anyone playing. He could leverage that talent into a bidding war this offseason, but it seems like the Colts are the favorites to have him in 2016.