Associated Press photographer MICHAEL MAROT contributed to this report.
Posted at 5:45 p.m. on May 26, 2021 05:45 PM CDT / Updated: May 26, 2021 CDT (Continuous Dial Time)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Vinatieri’s powerful leg helped him become the NFL’s all-time leading scorer.
He is expected to be forced out due to a surgically repaired left knee.
The 48-year-old former Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots player announced his retirement to former colleague and SiriusXM radio personality Pat McAfee.
“If paperwork is submitted by Friday, you will hear it here first,” Vinatieri stated.
He hasn’t played since December 1, 2019, when he missed three of four field goals in a 31-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
The game was tied 17-17 when Vinatieri’s final kick was blocked and returned 63 yards to break the tie. The next week, he was placed on injured reserve and underwent knee surgery, with the COVID-19 epidemic complicating his recovery. Last season, Vinatieri did not play.
Nobody anticipated Automatic Adam to end the way he did.
The Colts decided not to re-sign Vinatieri, who still wanted to play, after he missed six extra points and eight field goals in what turned out to be his worst season in his 24-year career.
His decision this week brings an end to one of the most illustrious careers in NFL history.
Vinatieri set two records, scoring 2,673 points and making 599 field goals, both previously held by Morten Andersen.
Vinatieri also has 365 regular-season games under his belt, second only to Andersen (382), and is the first player in league history to score 1,000 points with two separate teams.
He became renowned as the best clutch kicker in NFL history after entering the league as an undrafted free agent. During his career, Vinatieri made 29 game-winning kicks, including three that helped New England win Super Bowls.
Coach Bill Parcells considered cutting Vinatieri after he missed four of his first six field-goal attempts in the 1996 season. With 36 seconds left in a 31-0 victory over Arizona, the rookie saved his job with a 31-yard field goal into the wind and rain.
Vinatieri played for the Patriots for ten years, providing one great moment after another.
In a 2001 divisional round playoff game, he forced OT with a 45-yard field goal in blizzard conditions.
More than a decade later, Patriots coach Bill Belichick observed, “I would say it was by far the greatest kick I have ever seen.” “There was approximately 3 to 4 inches of snow on the ground,” says the narrator. It was a light snow that seemed to linger. There was simply no way to avoid it. The kick had a great amount of force. It has to be the best kick of all time, at least in my experience.”
Vinatieri would go on to win the game with a 23-yard field goal.
His 48-yard field goal as time expired two weeks later won the Patriots their first Super Bowl.
Is it a coincidence? Certainly not.
Vinatieri’s tiebreaking 46-yard field goal was the difference in another playoff win two years later, and his 41-yard kick with 4 seconds left broke a 29-29 tie with Carolina, giving the Patriots their second Super Bowl championship.
Vinatieri was a free agent after scoring 1,158 points with the Patriots, and he ended up in Indianapolis, where he spent the next 14 seasons authoring the second chapter of his career. With Indy, he set a franchise record with 1,515 points.
The stats are simply part of Vinatieri’s impressive resume.
The four-time Super Bowl champion and three-time All-Pro was a part of 242 regular-season victories, breaking career records for field-goal attempts (715) and being the third-oldest player in NFL history. He also scored in 47 different stadiums.
Vinatieri appeared in a total of 397 games, including the playoffs, including six AFC championship games, five Super Bowls, and six AFC championship games. In addition, he was named to the NFL’s 100th anniversary team.
Reggie Wayne, a former teammate, claimed on Twitter that Vinatieri was the greatest kicker of all time.
“Way to go, bro, on your retirement. For many years, it was a pleasure to sit back and observe #greatness,” Wayne tweeted.
How long has Vinatieri been a part of history?
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, two of the top three career passers, have been colleagues, as have Frank Gore and Curtis Martin, two of the top six rushers in the league. Except for himself and George Blanda, he faced 13 of the top 15 career scorers while working with two Hall of Fame coaches, Bill Parcells and Tony Dungy, as well as Belichick.
Felix Vinatieri, Vinatieri’s great-great-grandfather, was the bandmaster for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.
Despite this, Vinatieri was able to carve out his own place in history.
His 21 seasons with 100 points surpassed the previous high of 16. In overtime, he made a league-high ten game-winning kicks. He has the most straight field goals in the league (44), and no one has been better in the postseason, where he was 56 of 69 on field goal attempts and has 238 points, both league highs.
In 1996, Vinatieri was able to track down Herschel Walker and make a perfect touchdown-saving stop.
His interests aren’t limited to football.
In 2018, the passionate hunter opened Record Breaking Ranch, a 10,000-square-foot lodge in Missouri. The Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest civilian honour, was bestowed on him the previous year.
At the ceremony, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said, “Adam knows and exemplifies what it means to be a Hoosier.” “He is certainly deserving of the state’s greatest honour.”