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Colts re-sign veteran kicker Vinatieri to two-year deal

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The Canadian Press
3/11/2014 11:12:53 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Adam Vinatieri had two wishes in free agency.

He wanted to win one more Super Bowl ring for his thumb, and he wanted to do it with the Colts.

Indianapolis refused to let the 41-year-old kicker slip away Wednesday, re-signing Vinatieri just hours before he was to become an unrestricted free agent.

"I'd like to be here if the cards fall right," Vinatieri said in January, after the Colts were eliminated with a playoff loss at New England, where he won three Super Bowls. "Obviously this locker room's awesome. I've got a lot of friends in this locker room and I've got the most admiration for the ownership here and coaches and staff and everything. So if it's up to me, I'd love to be here."

Terms of the deal were not announced by the team.

But the signing was well-received by Vinatieri's current and future teammates, especially those on a kicking unit that has developed a tight bond over the past two seasons. Indy kept punter and kickoff specialist Pat McAfee last week, agreeing to a five-year deal. Long snapper Matt Overton, who went to the Pro Bowl last season, is already under contract.

Not surprisingly, Overton and McAfee, two avid fans of Twitter, didn't take long to respond to the news Vinatieri would return to Indy for his 19th NFL season.

Overton wrote: "The #4thDownPlayers are back! Congrats to @adamvinatieri & @PatMcAfeeShow on signing new deals!"

Later, McAfee, added this: "The Kick attack is back Jack."

Vinatieri is widely considered the best clutch kicker in league history. He made two Super Bowl-winning kicks with New England, where he won three Super Bowl rings. He might be best known, however, for making the tying kick to force overtime and the winning kick in overtime in a driving snowstorm to beat Oakland in the "Tuck Rule" playoff game. That win helped propel the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title.

He left New England as a free agent following the 2005 season and landed with the Colts, where he immediately won a fourth Super Bowl. The Colts made it back to the Super Bowl following the 2009 season, but lost to New Orleans when Vinatieri was on injured reserve.

For most of last season, Vinatieri was the oldest player in the league. He turned 41 in December. But he still had it.

Vinatieri finished with the second-highest point total of his career (139), made 35 of 40 field goals and became the seventh player in league history to top 2,000 career points. He's the second player in league history to score at least 800 points with two teams and needs one more 100-point season to break Jason Elam's career record of 16.

The Vinatieri signing is the latest in a flurry of moves the Colts have made going into free agency.

They signed former Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson last week, then released starting centre Samson Satele to save about $4 million under the new $133 million salary cap. They also tendered three other free agents and re-signed defensive end Fili Moala and linebacker Justin Hickman on Monday.

Indy, which had about $36 million to spend in free agency before the Vinatieri, is expected to look for help along the offensive line and on defence when the free agent market opens later Tuesday.

Adam Vinatieri (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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