The Indianapolis Colts’ 46-year-old kicker Adam Vinatieri has looked depressingly mortal through the first two weeks of the NFL season. In two close games, he’s missed a total of two field goals and three extra points. Because Vinatieri’s an NFL all-timer, he might escape the fate that would’ve already befallen any other kicker with his accuracy issues, but he raised eyebrows and fueled speculation that he might retire this week with a cryptic comment to a reporter after the team’s Week 2 win.
Vinatieri spoke to the media today and insisted that he doesn’t plan to retire in the near future. He clarified that he was not referring to a possible retirement press conference when on Sunday he alluded to an unscheduled meeting:
“Quite frankly, for two decades, we’ve always had open locker rooms on a Monday, and granted our schedule has changed as of last year. When I walked out saying I’ll talk to you guys on Monday, I just needed a little bit more time. Like I said, none of us should assume stuff.”
Colts head coach Frank Reich has publicly supported Vinatieri and claimed he’s not worried about his kicker, though Vinatieri also said today that he’s got a demon issue of some sort. “I’m going to work a lot this week to get those demons so I can go clear-headed, step on the field and just do my job,” Vinatieri said, per ESPN. He continued:
“I think there’s always mental and physical aspects of football,” Vinatieri said. “I just haven’t been hitting the ball as well as I should be. Nothing is going to change this week as far as preparation and all that stuff. I’ve kicked a lot of balls over the years. I’m not reinventing the wheel. I’m going to go out there and just try to do it a little cleaner. I’ve been watching film and checking stuff out, seeing if there are little tweaks I can do to make a difference.”
Vinatieri has been doing this longer than anyone. Thankfully he has the benefit of playing for an organization that’ll give him some more time to work out the demons, or the yips, or whatever has caused him to suddenly stop hitting kicks. But the Colts have already lost one game in which a better kicker would’ve made the difference, and as much as owner Jim Irsay respects Vinatieri, he’s probably working within thin margins.