INDIANAPOLIS — Truth be told, Adam Vinatieri has now checked off just about everything an NFL kicker can accomplish throughout their career:
- Pro Bowls? Check.
- All-Pros? Check.
- Super Bowl championships? Check. Check. Check. Check.
- Game-winning Super Bowl kicks? Check. Check.
- All-time leading scorer? Check.
- All-time leader in field goals made? Check.
So, yes, now at 46 years old — and with 23 years of NFL experience behind him, carrying the résumé listed above — Vinatieri could ride off into the sunset right now and patiently wait five more years until Canton, Ohio, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame likely come calling.
But that feeling of building something special in the locker room and seeing it carry out onto the field? It's something that perhaps will never grow old to Vinatieri.
The Indianapolis Colts did that, and then some, in 2018, turning around a 1-5 start into wins in 10 of their final 12 games to finish 10-6 during the regular season and then defeat the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.
In doing so, the Colts became only the third team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to earn a postseason berth after starting a season 1-5.
So while Vinatieri, a free-agent-to-be this offseason, could decide that the 2018 season was his final year in the NFL, he also knows the Colts are building something special, and he could see himself continuing to play an important role in that process, as well.
That's why, with the season now officially over, Vinatieri is going to take some time before making his plans for 2019 officially known.
"Listen: I love playing football," Vinatieri told reporters on Sunday, the day after the Colts' 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs. "I love being in the locker room with these guys and stuff. So I can't imagine doing anything else. But, like anybody, we're gonna all sit back and just decompress a little bit and see where it goes."
Vinatieri had yet another solid season in 2018, his 13th with the Colts. He connected on 23-of-27 field goals (85.2 percent), including 4-of-6 from 50 yards or further, and also made 44-of-47 extra-point attempts (93.6 percent).
In Week 4, he passed Morten Andersen (565) for first place on the NFL's all-time made field goals list.
Then, four weeks later, Vinatieri passed Andersen (2,544) for the most points scored in NFL history.
So what if Vinatieri does want to come back to the NFL, and to the Colts in 2019?
It seems as if the Colts are interested in exploring that very option, too.
General manager Chris Ballard said Monday, in his annual year-end press conference, that he was planning on meeting with Vinatieri the next day to discuss his potential future with the team.
Ballard did not say definitively whether or not the team wants Vinatieri back, but added: "I will say this, do I think he can still kick in this league and be a really good kicker? Absolutely I do."
"He is as important a guy in that locker room … I don't know if I have been around a special teams player that has as much impact as Adam does in the locker room," Ballard said. "From a positive standpoint, all of our young guys that come in get to see Adam Vinatieri work, rehab, prepare his body every year, be a pro, handle the hard times, handle the good times. I mean all of that, what Adam brings, brings a lot of value to this team."