INDIANAPOLIS — Adam Vinatieri in 2018 solidified his status as the greatest kicker in NFL history.
But he’s coming back for more.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, in an appearance on 1070 The Fan’s “The Dan Dakich Show,” revealed Friday that the Colts and Vinatieri have agreed to terms on a new contract that will keep the 46-year-old kicker in Indianapolis in 2019 for a 24th NFL season.
Vinatieri is coming off a record-filled 2018 season, one in which he became the NFL’s all-time career leader in field goals made and points scored, topping Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten Andersen in both categories.
In the Colts’ Week 4 home matchup against the Houston Texans, Vinatieri knocked in career field goal No. 566 with two seconds to go in the second quarter, breaking a tie with Andersen, who hit 565 field goals in his illustrious 25-year NFL career.
Four weeks later — this time on the road against the Oakland Raiders — Vinatieri nailed a 25-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in the second quarter to earn career point 2,547, officially passing Andersen and his previous record of 2,544 points.
Vinatieri had yet another solid overall 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).
He was also a trusted team captain and leader of a young Colts team that started the season with a 1-5 record, but reeled off wins in nine of its final 10 regular season games to finish at 10-6 and earn its first postseason berth since the 2014 season.
The Colts — just the third team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to make the playoffs after a 1-5 start — would go on to defeat the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round.
Acknowledging the fact he felt something special was building in Indianapolis, Vinatieri told reporters Jan. 13 that he wasn’t ruling out coming back for a 24th NFL season in 2019. But he said he wanted to meet with the Colts first and then take a little time before anything official would be decided on his end.
“Listen: I love playing football,” Vinatieri said. “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.”
Ballard told reporters Jan. 14 that he was planning on meeting with Vinatieri the next day.
“I will say this: do I think he can still kick in this league and be a really good kicker? Absolutely I do,” Ballard said.
“He is as important a guy in that locker room,” Ballard continued. “I don’t know if I have been around a special teams player that has as much impact as Adam (Vinatieri) does in the locker room. 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.”