Vinatieri, 45 and going into his 23rd season, is still happily kicking along. Of course, kickers can have a long shelf life — George Blanda, the oldest to have played in the NFL, played until he was 48, retiring with the Oakland Raiders in 1976. He kicked and quarterbacked for the likes of Paul “Bear” Bryant at Kentucky, before Bryant went to Texas A&M, let alone Alabama.
Morten Andersen, aka “The Great Dane,” is second on the list of oldest NFL players, retiring officially in 2008 with the Falcons at age 47.
Still, Vinatieri is a modern-day example of sticking to his sport. He is the oldest player currently on an NFL roster. He is entering his 13th season with the Indianapolis Colts, and spent 10 with the New England Patriots before that. He’s still very happy with his job duties.
“I love it as much today as I had when I started 23 years ago,” Vinatieri told Colts.com. “I’m not looking to hang them up anytime soon, unless something happens that needs to be that way.”
And yes, he thinks about catching up to some of the legends.
“I guess I’ll take these one year at a time and see where it ends up,” he said. “I would anticipate if I can stay healthy and be productive, I can anticipate catching up to Morten (Andersen) midseason or thereabout, and I guess at the end of the year I’d be 46.”
If Vinatieri — who has made 559 field goals in his career — makes seven field goals this season, he’ll pass Andersen (565) for most kicked in a career. He also needs only 58 points to pass Andersen on the career points list. Anderson tops the list with 2,544 points; Vinatieri has 2,487.