INDIANAPOLIS — Adam Vinatieri's 24th NFL season might not have finished the way he or his team would have hoped, but even with knee surgery on the horizon, the future Hall of Famer isn't ruling out a 25th season just yet.
That's according to Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, who confirmed Monday in his weekly conference call with local reporters that Vinatieri was being placed on injured reserve, ending his season, after dealing with a left knee injury.
Reich said he's yet to have a "long heart-to-heart" conversation with Vinatieri about his future plans, but based off a report today from FOX59/CBS4's Mike Chappell, in which Vinatieri mentions that his upcoming surgery might not necessarily signal the end of his playing career, the Colts' head coach said he wouldn't be surprised at all if No. 4 was kicking once again in 2020.
"It is my understanding that Adam's mindset is he is not done," Reich said. "That doesn't surprise me. I mean, I love that. That guy inspires me.
"Adam is unique in that way, it is one of the things that makes him the greatest of all-time."
Vinatieri's left knee issues began in training camp, and with undrafted rookie Cole Hedlund available on the 90-man roster to handle kicking duties, Vinatieri would miss several camp practices and participated in just one of the team's four preseason games.
That rest, Vinatieri said recently, helped get him ready for the regular season, but the pain returned during pregame warmups prior to the Colts' Week 13 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Reich said last week Vinatieri "gutted it out, was fine … did what he had to do to get through the game," but that it was obvious the pain wasn't going away as the team began preparations for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Vinatieri last Wednesday landed on the team's injury report for the first time all season; he was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday and did not practice on Thursday or Friday before being ruled out the Buccaneers game. He was inactive on Sunday for the first time in almost 10 years, a span of more than 3,500 days.
After undergoing an MRI on his knee, a joint decision was made to shut the legendary kicker down for the remainder of the season.
"Obviously, Adam's injury was monitored, talked about with Adam, with the doctors, and this is just the right thing to do for Adam," Reich said today.
Vinatieri this season connected on 17-of-25 (68 percent) of his field goal tries, and 22-of-28 (78.6 percent) of his extra-point attempts. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week back in Week 8 after hitting two 50-plus-yard field goals, including the game winner from 51 yards out, in the Colts' 15-13 victory over the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The NFL's all-time leader in points scored (2,673) and field goals made (599) and attempted (715), Vinatieri has connected on 336-of-394 (85.3 percent) of his field goals and 507-of-524 (96.8 percent) of his extra-point attempts during his 14 seasons with the Colts, and has hit 599-of-715 (83.8 percent) field goals and 874-of-898 (97.3 percent) of his extra-point tries total over the course of his 24-year NFL career.
'Tough break' for Campbell
Reich also confirmed on Monday that wide receiver Parris Campbell's season will end after being placed on injured reserve with a broken foot, just the latest in an unfortunate string of injuries that limited the exciting speedster in his rookie season.
Campbell suffered the injury early in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers, but "he was able to play through a lot of it," Reich said.
"When it happened and we all thought it looked kind of strange, but he came to the side and said he felt it, felt something but felt like he could manage and play through it," Reich added.
The broken foot is the fourth injury to sideline Campbell since training camp. He missed action during camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury, then suffered an abdominal injury that forced him to miss Weeks 5 and 7 of the regular season. Just two weeks after returning from that injury, Campbell suffered a broken hand late in the Colts' Week 9 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sunday's game against the Buccaneers was Campbell's first game back since suffering that hand injury.
Reich said he had a long chat with Campbell today, acknowledging the Ohio State product's frustrations but encouraging him to keep a positive mindset moving forward.
"First off all I just reassured him of our confidence and belief in him," Reich said. "I mean as a player no matter what round you're picked or no matter what kind of college career you've had, you go through a year he has had to go through (and) it can wear on you. It can wear on you. It's personal and it's real for us.
"I mean as an organization we love Parris," Reich continued. "Then you kind of man-to-man – as a player having been through injuries or this or that, or experiences with other players with injuries, you just try to have a heart-to-heart with him about what category to put these things in — for him to stay positive, keep believing and to get ready to go next year."
In seven games played with three starts his rookie year, Campbell caught 18 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown; he also added four rushing attempts for 34 yards and seven kickoff returns for 175 yards (25.0 avg.).
Reich said the team will make corresponding moves to address the two open spots on the 53-man roster "in the next couple days." The Colts (6-7) next go on the road to take on the New Orleans Saints (10-3) next week on Monday Night Football.