Adam Vinatieri is coming off the worst season of his Hall of Fame career, one that appears to be heading towards its end. Vinatieri had a career low in field goal percentage and extra point percentage for the Indianapolis Colts last season, even having a self evaluation of his performance after struggling to convert field goals in September.
At 47 years old and with free agency approaching, it's easy to envision Vinatieri walking into the sunset. Colts owner Jim Irsay hasn't closed the book on Vinatieri's career with Indianapolis.
"I don't know. I know he's rehabbing that knee and it's something that Chris (general manager Chris Ballard) and Frank (head coach Frank Reich) will talk about and give their opinions to me," Irsay said regarding Vinatieri's future Sunday, via Jim Ayello of the Indy Star. "As an owner I occasionally step in, but I like to give my people room to make mistakes. Oftentimes that's how you learn. The best way to learn. It hurts, but you learn that way.
"But Adam knows how much I think of him. He's unbelievable. ... We'll see. He's in rehab mode now, and we're in the middle of trying to put the team together."
Vinatieri hit just 17 of 25 field goals last season in 12 games, including a paltry 5 of 12 from 40-plus yards out. His field goal percentage has declined in each of the last five seasons since hitting 96.8% in 2014, when he was a First Team All-Pro. His extra point percentage of 68% was the lowest of Vinatieri's career. He was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury in December.
Vinatieri led the league in field goal percentage three times, has the most points scored in NFL history and the most field goals made in league history.
Irsay is willing to give him an opportunity to (at the very least) compete for his job.