Legendary Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will not be a part of the team’s kicking competition, and his career could be over after a rocky 2019.
Indianapolis Colts reporter Zak Keefer reported Wednesday that general manager Chris Ballard plans to have an open kicking competition between Chase McLaughlin and Rodrigo Blankenship, meaning that the team is moving on from longtime kicker Adam Vinatieri.
This is likely to be the end of the line for Vinatieri, a future Hall-of-Famer, after a rough 2019 season. The 47-year-old kicker made just 68% of his field goal attempts and missed six extra points.
After 24 seasons in the NFL and two Super Bowl-winning kicks, Vinatieri may have a tough time finding a new team. While he has had one of the best careers of any kicker in league history, the three-time Pro Bowler simply cannot play at the same level anymore.
While his retirement now appears imminent, the writing has been on the wall for Vinatieri since last season. He missed four games in 2019 due to a season-ending knee injury, which carries a difficult recovery at age 47.
For fans who have watched Vinatieri kick since 1996, it may be upsetting that his career will not end on his own terms. While he has not commented on his plans for 2020, his retirement does not look like it will be his choice. Teams are unlikely to sign a free agent in his mid-40s, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
More attractive options also exist on the free agent market, including former Patriot Stephen Gostkowski. Despite Vinatieri’s incredible accomplishments, his career had to end at some point. However, it’s unfortunate that his retirement likely comes without any fanfare or formal announcement.
Vinatieri’s next NFL stop appears to be Canton, Ohio. With Super Bowl four rings between the Colts and Patriots, there isn’t much he has left to accomplish.