Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich did his best on Monday to cool rumors that kicker Adam Vinatieri is headed toward retirement, as the team has apparently convinced him to stay on.
A day after the kicker sparked rumors that he could be retiring by making some cryptic comments to reporters, Reich spoke out to say that Vinatieri would indeed be with the team as it faced the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3. As Zac Keefer of The Athletic noted, via Twitter, Reich made it clear that Vinatieri was still their kicker — and reports indicated that the team had cooled him off on the idea of calling it quits.
“Adam’s our kicker. He’s not only our kicker, he’s an instrumental leader on our team,” Reich said.
As The Inquisitr reported on Sunday, there was widespread speculation that Vinatieri could be headed for retirement after he faltered in the team’s 19-17 win over the Tennessee Titans. Vinatieri missed two extra points in the game, making the victory more narrow than it could have been.
After the poor performance, Vinatieri declined to speak with reporters but said he would be talking to them on Monday. Because the team normally does not speak to reporters on Monday, there was speculation that Vinatieri was making reference to a retirement announcement.
After the game, Colts owner Jim Irsay added to the speculation that Vinatieri could either be retiring or out of a job with the Colts, but said the team wasn’t going to make any rash decisions.
“Yeah, it’s a concern. We’ll talk and try to make emotion out of big decisions,” Irsay said, via IndyStar.
After he had missed another extra point and a field goal in the team’s season opener, Vinatieri put the blame on himself. However, he also pushed back against the reports that his time with the Colts could be coming to a conclusion.
“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.”
Though the Indianapolis Colts may have pushed Adam Vinatieri back from retirement, the legendary kicker’s long-term future — both with the team and in the NFL — remains uncertain. Should he continue to struggle as he has in the first two weeks his time in the league could be limited, as the NFL has become a volatile league for kickers. With the league phasing out kickoffs, there has been a greater emphasis on field goals, and kickers that perform below league average have found themselves quickly out of a job.