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Adam Vinatieri: No. 1 Priority This Offseason Was Re-Signing With Colts
February 22, 2018 08:49 PM | Andrew Walker
INDIANAPOLIS -Indianapolis was always the place Adam Vinatieri wanted to be for his 23rd NFL season, but he understood the Colts had their own business to take care of before he could make it official.

After parting ways with head coach Chuck Pagano following the team's 2017 season finale, the Colts and general manager Chris Ballard had some huge decisions to make regarding the future of the franchise.

Ultimately, after an interesting search (to say the least), the team on Feb. 11 hired Frank Reich - fresh off a Super Bowl title as the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator - to be its next head coach.

Then, five days later, another key domino fell: the Colts formally announced the hiring of Bubba Ventrone -Vinatieri's former teammate with the New England Patriots -as their new special teams coordinator.

Vinatieri was sold on the moves and the direction of the organization to come back for at least another season, and on Thursday, the Colts re-signed the 45-year-old future Hall of Famer to a reported one-year deal.

Vinatieri told Colts.com's Caroline Cann that remaining in Indianapolis was his "No. 1 priority for this offseason."

"I knew that there was a lot of changes and a lot of things that had to happen first. I know they were working on coaching staff and all the different stuff, but I figured it would take care of itself in due time, and pretty excited I didn't have to take it into March and into all the different crazy stuff," he said. "It was an easy process this year; like I said, they knew I wanted to come back, and I was happy that they wanted me back. And it was a quick one-day turnaround and, 'Let's go.'"

Vinatieri has seemingly gotten better with age, especially since hitting his 40s. Last season, the three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection converted 29-of-34 field goal attempts (85.3 percent) and 22-of-24 extra point tries (91.7 percent), and very well could've been looking at a potential 97 percent field goal conversion rate had the team not played in a massive snowstorm Week 14 against the Bills in Buffalo, and then a driving rainstorm two weeks later against the Ravens in Baltimore.

The 2018 season, meanwhile, could very well prove to be a historic one for Vinatieri and the Colts. He currently sits just 57 points shy of Morten Andersen's NFL all-time record of 2,544, and is just seven made field goals behind Andersen's 565, also a league record.

Those marks could both very well fall by midseason - or even before - but it's the possibility of being the all-time leader in points that really blows Vinatieri's mind.

"I always thought that that was a record, you know, a dozen years ago I thought nobody's ever coming close to that," Vinatieri said. "And just been fortunate to be on a great team that scores a lot of points and to stay healthy and all the little things that have kind of just kept us going along.

"And the fun thing is I've never lost a love of the game; I love it as much as I did when I first got into the league. It's just a blessing to be able to play 23 years. And so if that record happens - it better - but if it does, I'm going to be jacked up and extremely happy."

Ultimately, however, Vinatieri just wants to continue winning games, something he's done more than any other player in NFL history already. He said he'd trade any records he potentially breaks in 2018 for another Super Bowl trophy - which would be his fifth - "any day."

"So that's always been my goal is to help my team win games and play in the postseason and stuff," Vinatieri said. "But if you do it long enough sometimes personal things kind of jump out there that I can be excited about."

Vinatieri has always tried to take a "one-year-at-a-time" approach, but on Thursday was asked about the possibility of playing beyond the 2018 season. While he agreed to a one-year deal, he said he'll never rule out playing into his late-40s if his body allows.

If that ends up being the case, look out: George Blanda was an NFL record 48 years and 109 days old when he retired from the NFL following the 1975 season; Vinatieri would surpass that mark by Week 1 of the 2021 season.

"My anticipation is to play well this year, help our team win games and make the playoffs, and if I feel good after that, there's no anticipations of stopping then," he said. "I would love to play for two, three, four more years - who knows? But I'm taking them one at a time, and embracing every opportunity and soaking in every moment, because at some point it will come to an end -I'm hoping that's not anytime soon."



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