INDIANAPOLIS – Adam Vinatieri is preparing for his 19th NFL season, and he is the dean of all NFL players. With training camp just ahead, Colts.com catches up with Vinatieri to see how his spring went, what he will do while away and other things that are on his mind.
What did you get accomplished this spring that you set out to do – My goal was to stay consistent and get my body healthy. I wanted to make sure that when we get to training camp and the season that I've worked hard and kept my body where it needs to be so I can continue to perform at a high level. It's a daily approach. At home, I helped put a nice garden in. I coached my kids' teams. I coached my son's (A.J.) baseball and my daughter's (Allison) soccer teams. It was a lot of fun. Coaching is just as stressful as playing, to be honest. I get into these things, even if it's youth soccer. I get nervous about trying to win games. My daughter's team won the championship in June. At this age, it's more about having fun, but it's always fun when you win. You do want to plant the seed about the importance of winning.
What motivation do you have now that is different than in past seasons** – The older I get, the more I realize the light at the end of the tunnel is coming. There are fewer seasons for me. The need to win championships is right there. It's always the motivation. You're always trying to do that every year. I realize I don't have 10 years left. I don't say you push harder because you push hard all the time, but you try to make the young guys realize it's something we need to do right away.
What song(s) and artist(s) will you listen to the most this summer – I'm all over the map with my music. It's all the way with country from Rascal Flatts and Zac Brown to Imagine Dragons, whatever. I'm more of a chill guy. Unless I'm lifting, I like to listen to more acoustical music.
What books(s) and author(s) will you read this summer – I'm a bid Ayn Rand fan. I've read *Atlas Shrugged *several times, but I'm going to try to read it again. It's been a few years since I read it. Beyond that, a lot of hunting magazines and things like that. I like seeing the new gear for the next wish-hunt, if you will. My reading goes through stages. During the off-season, I don't get to as much because I'm doing a lot of things with the kids. During the season and when we're traveling, I try to do more reading. It's a cyclical situation, probably backward from how someone would think I'd have chances to read. Once the kids are grown, I'll have a chance to read more. There are a lot of books on my list I don't have a lot of time for, but I will.
What activities and travels will you have before training camp – I'm going to South Dakota for a family reunion over the Fourth of July. All of my cousins and siblings are getting together, and we're going to do a family portrait. I know my parents are excited about that. I'm sure my kids are excited to see their cousins. We'll probably have three generations of family at this one. There is a bigger family reunion in August. That one will be five generations of my cousins and uncles and their kids. I'll be in training camp and won't be a part of it. The one in July is Reunion-Lite.
What teammates/coaches will you keep in touch with during the time away, or do you completely disconnect – I may talk to Matt Overton, Pat McAfee and my two position coaches (Tom McMahon, Brant Boyer) but beyond that, we're all together so much during OTAs and training camp the the time off we have I spend with my family. That will be the last uninterrupted time we'll have for a while.
Which teammate do you expect to have a tremendous season in 2014 and why – I expect all my teammates to have great years. One guy in particular, Jerrell Freeman, is so good. I saw him working so hard in the off-season just doing the lifting and all the things. I expect him to go out and lead the league in tackles this year.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why –I love the Superdome in New Orleans because it holds special memories for me. For kickers playing down South or where it's warm, we like those kinds of places. I just like going into that dome. It brings me back to good memories (a game-winning Super Bowl XXXVI field goal to beat St. Louis on the last play). Morten Andersen had some great moments in the Superdome, and so did I. We don't play often in New Orleans but when we do, it's good memories. I love playing at home, don't mistake that. It's my favorite place. We have great fans and it's a great site, but we're talking about road stadiums.
What does your jersey number mean to you – Number four wasn't significant when I got it, but it is now. Whenever I walk in the locker room and see it hanging there, it symbolizes my career and what it's meant to me. I think that number becomes more special to me every day. I never really paid much attention to numbers growing up. I was number eight in high school, seven in college, five in NFL Europe and four in the NFL. I never was married necessarily to a number because every time I went to a new place, that number was taken. When I got into the NFL, my number could have been 650 and I would have worn it because I wanted to have a jersey. There are some pretty good guys out there in number four.
What is the greatest sporting event or individual performance outside the NFL that you saw in person –It was in the 2004 ALCS when the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the fourth game. They beat Mariano Rivera, and it catapulted them into winning the series and going on and winning the World Series. That game was special. They were down and out and found a way to come back and win. I think that was a special moment that catapulted that franchise into greatness.
What was your favorite team growing up and why –It was the Miami Dolphins because of Dan Marino. I was a quarterback in high school. When I was in high school, he was the best one out there. I probably idolized and emulated him the best ways I could. We met a couple of times when we played against each other, but I wasn't going to be that type of young player who was going to say, 'Hey, I loved you when I was in high school.' I'm sure he got that a lot of times. He's identified with the Dolphins, and I liked them growing up.