Team Announces Two Roster Moves During Bye Week
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts announced two roster moves on Wednesday after learning kicker Adam Vinatieri would miss four-to-eight weeks while recovering from successful arthroscopic knee surgery.
In lieu of Vinatieri while he is sidelined, the Colts signed veteran kicker Matt Stover. To make room for the roster move, the Colts released defensive tackle Ed Johnson.
Stover joins the club after 19 seasons with the New York Giants, Cleveland and Baltimore and gives the Colts the comfort of replacing one experienced kicker with another.
"Matt is a true professional in everything he does and how he conducts his business," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "We competed against him a number of times over the years, so we know what type of craftsman he is."
Caldwell said Vinatieri was originally reluctant to have surgery, but the team decided it was in his best interest.
"He wanted to fight through it, since he's a real warrior, but we felt the best way to handle the situation was go ahead and get it operated on and straightened out," Caldwell said. "We knew if we got it done now it gave us an extra week with the bye week, as opposed to letting it linger and pop up later this year."
Stover, the NFL's fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,944 points, said he stayed in shape this offseason hoping a team would come calling, which it did.
"The opportunity for me to come and be with a team such as the Indianapolis Colts is just a great privilege for me," he said.
The former Baltimore kicker said he kept his cleats on and is confident he can still kick like he used to.
"I've always said if I can't kick a 52-yard field goal then I won't kick. So I've been able to kick 52-yard field goals, we worked that out in the workout yesterday," he said. "I had a great opportunity in Baltimore for all those years, I have nothing bad to say there. I wish them all the best. But when it comes down to it, I'm a Colt today and I'm here to help the team get to a Super Bowl."
Stover, who ranks fourth all-time in career field goals made with 462 and holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with a made field goal (38), said he is used to making pressure kicks, which is one reason why he thinks the Colts brought him on.
"That's why I think they went with a veteran, a guy they feel like they can trust," he said. "That's what I'm priding myself on, to go out there and make all the field goals I can, making sure if the game comes down to a game-winning field goal, they can depend on me and I've got their trust."
With the need to add a kicker, Caldwell said the team looked up and down the roster for a spot where they might be able to make an adjustment.
"And in order to bring (Matt) on, we had to release Ed Johnson," the Colts coach said.
In three seasons with the Colts, Johnson started all 21 games he played at defensive tackle, including four this season. The Colts released Johnson after one game in 2008, but Caldwell said Johnson's departure is not because of a "character issue."
"It was more production than anything else," Caldwell said.
In order to fill the void, Caldwell said the Colts would employ a four-man rotation, with starting defense tackle Antonio Johnson, veterans Eric Foster and Dan Muir, as well as 2009 second-round draft pick Fili Moala.
Caldwell said he does not anticipate the Colts adding anyone through free agency and is confident the players he has, including Moala, can produce.
"He's shown improvement the last few weeks, in particular. He's come along and made some strides," Caldwell said. "We are going to get an opportunity to see what he can do."