IndiaNapoliS — Colts‘ kicker Adam Vinatieri said the possibility of retiring didn’t cross his mind after he missed his seventh kick in the past three games on Sunday. What Vinatieri does need to get out his mind, though, are the demons that are there as he fights his way through one of the worst stretches of his 24-year NFL career.
“I’m going to work a lot this week to get those demons so I can go clear-headed, step on the field and just do my job,” Vinatieri said Tuesday.
Vinatieri, in a span that started with the playoffs last January and through the first two games of this season, has gone from being one of the most reliable kickers in NFL history to being the weak link on the Colts.
His three missed kicks against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 cost the Colts the game, and then he missed two extra points in IndiaNapolis’ 19-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans last weekend. It has taken him only two games to tie the same number of missed extra points he had last season — three — in 47 attempts. Vinatieri has missed seven kicks inside of the 35-yard line over the past five games.
“I think anybody that has had a bad game, or, I dunno, I guess if you go out golfing and you hook a couple balls, are you thinking about it until you get it figured out? I’ll spend some time this week working those [demons] out,” Vinatieri said.
Vinatieri, one of the most media-friendly players inside the Colts locker room, left Nissan Stadium after the game Sunday without speaking. He said he planned to talk Monday despite it being the players’ day off, which raised the possibility that his career may be coming to a close.
Vinatieri said he didn’t think about retiring.
“No (on retiring),” he said. “That was one those situations that I was walking out of the locker room. Quite frankly, for two decades, we’ve always had open locker rooms on a Monday, and granted our schedule has changed as of last year. When I walked out saying I’ll talk to you guys on Monday, I just needed a little bit more time. Like I said, none of us should assume stuff.”
While owner Jim Irsay said Sunday that Vinatieri’s play of late is a “concern” that he can’t lie about, Colts coach Frank Reich has said on multiple occasions that he’s not worried about his kicker.
Vinatieri dealt with a left knee problem that sidelined him for a portion of training camp. He said he’s “plenty healthy to do my job.”
“I think there’s always mental and physical aspects of football,” Vinatieri said. “I just haven’t been hitting the ball as well as I should be. Nothing is going to change this week as far as preparation and all that stuff. I’ve kicked a lot of balls over the years. I’m not reinventing the wheel. I’m going to go out there and just try to do it a little cleaner. I’ve been watching film and checking stuff out, seeing if there are little tweaks I can do to make a difference.”
The Colts are publicly supporting Vinatieri, but the reality is the pressure will be on the 46-year-old kicker every time he kicks an extra point or field goal the rest of the season. The next chance for him to redeem himself will be Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
“I think every time you step on the field you have a certain amount of pressure on you to succeed,” Vinatieri said. “I don’t think it changes much at all at that point. Obviously I would like to get back on the making side. As far as pressure, change, I don’t think it makes that much of a difference.”