The end could be near for NFL legend Adam Vinatieri.
The Indianapolis Colts kicker sparked speculation that he could retire with a cryptic comment after his team’s 19-17 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Vinatieri, who had already struggled in his team’s season opener, missed two extra points on Sunday and gave his team a much narrower victory.
As IndyStar reported, Sunday’s performance sparked some concern from Colts owner Jim Irsay, who expressed concern about the kicker’s performance and hinted that the 46-year-old Vinatieri could be considering retirement.
“Yeah, it’s a concern. We’ll talk and try to make emotion out of big decisions,” Irsay said after the game.
Adam Vinatieri seemed to hint about an upcoming announcement as well. As Stephen Holder of The Athletic noted on Twitter, Vinatieri said he would be meeting with members of the press on Monday, a day when the team normally does not give interviews. That led to some immediate speculation that Vinatieri would be announcing his retirement from the NFL.
As IndyStar noted, there were rumblings that Vinatieri could be losing his job after the poor performance in the season opener for the Colts. The kicker missed two field goals and an extra point in his team’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and afterward, Vinatieri put the blame on himself.
Father Time is coming for Adam Vinatieri. He has rest of game to make his stand, or this next week is going to be awkward.— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) September 15, 2019
But the kicker also pushed back against turning the poor performance into something larger.
“You guys are trying to make this into something,” he said. “Write whatever you want. It’s just, I think every single day every person is playing for their job.”
Adam Vinatieri has missed two field goals and an extra point for the Colts today.— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) September 8, 2019
Unheard of. pic.twitter.com/y6xMY6ImhV
Adam Vinatieri has now missed extra points in three straight games, going back to the 2018 season finale.
Though Vinatieri has had a legendary career with both the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, being a key part of Super Bowl teams for both franchises, the NFL has become an unforgiving league for kickers. With kickoffs being phased out of the game, there has been an increased emphasis on efficiency at field goals and extra points and a number of teams have made quick changes from kickers who fall below league averages on kick percentages. This season alone, there have been a spate of kicker changes. Should Vinatieri retire, the Colts would be among the teams looking for a permanent kicker.
Despite the rumors, there is not yet any indication from either the Indianapolis Colts or Adam Vinatieri that the future Hall of Fame kicker is announcing his retirement.