Adam Vinatieri’s return hinges on complicated rehab

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Longtime NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri is hoping to come back from last year’s knee injury and play again.

If he’s not able to, the 47-year-old will be able to walk away content.

Vinatieri told Mike Chappell of that he’s coming to grips with the possibility that his desire to play again may not come to fruition.

“If I can’t make it back, it is what it is,’’ Vinatieri said. “I’d like to play again, but if not, that’s part of the deal. If after 24 years you’re not at peace with what you’ve done in your career, then you’re a jackass. What more? I always wanted to be a good father and a good husband. Football is what I do, it doesn’t define me.

“Saying that, my definition of Adam Vinatieri the football player is he’s had a pretty good run. If it’s not in the cards and I’m not coming back — and I’m not saying that — then, yes, I’ll be at peace.”

The 47-year-old free agent, who happens to be the league’s all-time leading scorer, is coming off a frustrating season which ended with surgery on his left knee (his plant leg). He had his meniscus and patellar tendon worked on, and while he’s optimistic about what should have been a six-month recovery, his inability to get the kind of hands-on rehab he’d ordinarily receive because of the coronavirus lockdowns casts some doubt on his comeback.

“I talk to Erin [Barill, the Colts’ director of sports medicine] and he’s like, ‘This is a six-month minimum recovery time, which is in June,’’ Vinatieri said. “He said, ‘I think you’re on pace, but without me putting my hands on you I really don’t know where you are.’

“I knew with a six-month, June [timetable], it was going to be tight anyway. If anything, this is going to prolong my recovery.’’

Vinatieri said he considered hiring one of the team’s interns as a personal trainer, having that person quarantine himself for 14 days and then living in his guest house for one-on-one work.

“In hindsight, probably would have been the right thing to do,’’ he said.

He said he still has some degree of pain when playing with his kids in the yard, but that’s normal for his stage in recovery. In the interim, he’s doing whatever he can with a well-stocked home gym, though he said he can only do about half of what he could if he was in a team facility.

“Because of this quarantine thing, I can’t get the work I’d love to have to see if I can get back,’’ he said. “Before all of this, my thought was get back and get healthy and if I can kick well, shoot, I figured I could earn a job.

“With the virus, it’s out of my control. All you can do is what you can do and let’s see how it goes. If it’s not in the cards, it’s not in the cards.’’

While he wants to come back, he also wants to win, and said he wasn’t interested in being a midseason replacement for a bad team. But if the right opportunity is available — and if he’s able to get himself well — he definitely wants to try.

6 responses to “Adam Vinatieri’s return hinges on complicated rehab

  1. He’s 47 and probably cost the Colts a couple games last year and a potential playoff spot. He’s had a great career but it’s over.

  2. I said here (Jan 2019) the old goat should bow out gracefully as a champ rather than a cramp. Colt homies all downthumbed it but will now all return and admit they were wrong to do so..

  3. He’s made over 50 mil and is almost certainly going to the hall of fame. Several rings. What’s left?

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