Indianapolis cut ties with the most accurate kicker in NFL history to sign a guy who was considered the most clutch. Now, they might not have his services in the season opener.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri’s tenure with the Indianapolis Colts apparently is starting on the wrong foot. The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday that Vinatieri has a broken bone in his left foot, which he uses to plant before kicking. According to the report, Vinatieri suffered the injury during practice August 14. The Colts are uncertain whether their newly acquired kicker will be available for the team’s season opener against the New York Giants on September 10.
“That’s what he told us about a week and a half ago,” Vinatieri’s mother, Judy, told the newspaper. “They sent him to a specialist. They found a small broken bone in his foot.”
Arguably the best pressure kicker in NFL history, Vinatieri left his long-time home with the New England Patriots this past offseason and signed a five-year deal with the Colts. Vinatieri, 33, made 82 percent (263-of-321) of his field goals in 10 seasons with the Patriots. He has replaced Mike Vanderjagt, who converted 87.5 percent (217-of-248) in eight years with the Colts. But Vanderjagt did not come through when the Colts needed him most, missing a 46-yard attempt with 17 seconds left in a 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC divisional playoffs in January.
Vinatieri made virtually every clutch kick for the Patriots, helping them become the second team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span (2001-04). He kicked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give the Patriots a 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and drilled a 41-yarder with four seconds left in a 32-29 win over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Patriots would not even have made the Super Bowl in the first year of their title run without Vinatieri, who kicked a game-tying 45-yard field goal in a heavy snowfall with 27 seconds left in regulation and booted a 23-yarder in overtime in a divisional playoff win over Oakland.
The key is having him ready come playoff time, not the season opener. He’ll be ready by then.
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