Adam Vinatieri To Miss First Game Since 2009 Season

The Indianapolis Colts on Sunday will be without the services of veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri, who has been ruled out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a left knee injury. It’ll be Vinatieri’s first missed game with the Colts in almost 10 years.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Since 2006, just three players not named Adam Vinatieri have attempted a field goal or extra point for the Indianapolis Colts.

Chase McLaughlin will likely had his name to that list on Sunday.

Head coach Frank Reich announced on Friday that Vinatieri, who has been dealing with a left knee injury, has been ruled out of Sunday's Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Vinatieri will officially miss his first game since he sat out Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010, an amazing span of 3,591 days.

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Vinatieri originally signed with the Colts as a free agent in 2006 after an extremely successful first 10 seasons with the New England Patriots, where he won three Super Bowl titles — two of which, Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, were clinched thanks to last-second field goals off the right foot of No. 4.

Since that time, just 19 field goals and 50 extra points have been attempted by three Colts players not named Adam Vinatieri:

» On Sept. 17, 2006, with Vinatieri dealing with a groin injury, punter Hunter Smith, who was usually holding field goals and extra points, attempted, and missed, an extra-point try in the Colts' 43-24 Week 2 victory over the Houston Texans at the RCA Dome. That attempt came after a three-yard touchdown run by Ran Carthon with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter, and Smith would take over Vinatieri's duties on the ensuing kickoff, as well.

» Still hampered by the groin injury, Vinatieri would sit out the next three games. The Colts signed veteran Martin Gramatica to temporarily handle their kicking duties, and he would connect on his only field goal attempt, as well as all nine extra-point tries, over Weeks 3-5, all Indy wins. Gramatica's final kick with the Colts, an extra point with 5:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, would be the difference in Indy's 14-13 home victory over the Tennessee Titans. Vinatieri would re-join the Colts by their next game, and the team would go on to win Super Bowl XLIV over the Chicago Bears, Vinatieri's fourth-career title.

» The only other instance Vinatieri has missed time with the Colts came in the 2009 season, when he would appear in just six games due to hip and knee injuries. The team signed Matt Stover, who would appear in 13 total games that season between the regular season and the playoffs, connecting on 15-of-18 (83.3 percent) of his field goal attempts, and all 40 of his extra-point tries. Stover hit 1-of-2 field goals and both extra-point attempts in the Colts' 31-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010 — the last time Vinatieri has missed a game.

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Colts head coach Frank Reich said it was during pregame warmups prior to last Sunday's Week 13 matchup against the Tennessee Titans that Vinatieri reported feeling some pain in his left knee, similar to what he was experiencing a few months back in training camp that limited him to just one preseason appearance.

Vinatieri, Reich said Wednesday in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, "Gutted it out, was fine … did what he had to do to get through the game," but "then came out here early this week, and it's just not responding the way I think he was looking for it to respond."

Vinatieri on was listed as limited for Wednesday's practice — the first time he's landed on the team's injury report all season — and he did not participate on Thursday or Friday before being ruled out of Sunday's game.

Vinatieri did have an MRI done on his left knee this week, and Reich was asked Friday if the kicker ending his 24th NFL season on the injured reserve list was a possibility.

"At this point that has not been discussed," Reich said. "It's just kind of a week-to-week thing. We'll just monitor it and see how it responds. That will be a week-to-week deal."

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For now, the Colts will turn over field goal and extra-point duties to McLaughlin, who was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday.

Despite being a rookie, McLaughlin already has plenty of experience when it comes to being signed midseason and immediately kicking the ball through the uprights.

The Los Angeles Chargers signed McLaughlin on Oct. 1, and five days later he made 2-of-3 field goals and his only extra-point try in Los Angeles' Week 5 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

He was then picked up by the 49ers on Nov. 7, and four days later he hit 4-of-5 total kicks, including 3-of-4 field goals and his only extra-point attempt, Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks.

On Sunday, four days after being claimed off waivers, McLaughlin will be expected to do the same with the Colts at Raymond James Stadium.

"Very confident in Chase," Reich told Colts.com's Matt Taylor on Friday. "I mean, he's been having a good year kicking statistically, he's had some pressure kicks, so I have a lot of confidence in him. And I think the way you treat something like this is you assume the best, and you believe the best. So that's what we'll expect from him in Tampa."

In seven games combined with the Chargers and 49ers, McLaughlin converted 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) of his field goal attempts, with a long of 50 yards, and converted all 15 of his extra-point tries. He hit 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) field goals in three games in San Francisco, as well as all eight extra-point attempts.

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