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Patriots.com News Blitz - 03/22/06

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, John Tomase of the Boston Herald, Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant and Tom Curran of the Providence Journal report that that kicker Adam Vinatieri has reached a contract agreement in principle with the Indianapolis Colts. According to sources familiar with the talks, Vinatieri would receive a $3.5 million signing bonus and $7.5 million over the first three years of the contract. The total length of the contract was unclear, though it could be five years.

Ron Borges of the Boston Globe writes that Vinatieri is the most high-profile Patriot yet to leave New England this offseason, although the list is growing. He leaves after a phenomenal 10-year run in which he had among his 20 game-winning kicks two that won Super Bowls plus a remarkable 45-yard knuckleball through a blizzard that sent the Patriots into overtime against the Raiders in a playoff game Vinatieri would ultimately win with a 23-yard kick. That final snowy field goal closed down Foxboro Stadium for good and buried all the ghosts that had haunted the franchise in that old place.

The *Boston Herald *staff offers an article which takes a look at Adam Vinatieri's career highlights with the Patriots.

With Vinatieri gone, John Tomase of the Boston Herald takes a look at the Patriots options for kickers. The two top kickers currently available are former Vikings kicker Paul Edinger, who visited the Patriots yesterday, and former Colts' kicker Mike Vanderjagt, whom the Patriots have also expressed interest in. Of the two, Felger writes that Edinger seems the best fit for the Patriots. Edinger has cold-weather kicking experience as he played five seasons with the Chicago Bears and with the Minnesota Vikings kicked three game-winners, including a record 56-yarder with no time left to beat Green Bay on Oct. 23.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal also notes that kicker Paul Edinger visited the Patriots yesterday and also reports that wide receiver Tim Dwight is heading to the New York Jets. Dwight reportedly signed a four-year deal. Curran also cites sources close to wide receiver Troy Brown as saying he may be close to signing elsewhere in the next few days.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that the Patriots certainly have their reasons for passing on Vinatieri. He's 33 and has battled back problems the past several years. For two years running he's been the highest-paid kicker in the game, and that has to end sometime. Besides, if you ask Tom Brady to be third-highest-paid quarterback and Richard Seymour to keep his demands in check, how do you justify making Vinatieri the highest-priced player at his position deep into his 30s?

Brian Ballou of the Boston Herald offers fan reaction to the loss of Vinatieri to the Colts.

The Republican reports that Go FIT, a nonprofit fitness and wellness organization based in Western Massachusetts, will hold a fund-raising event, "Breakfast For Champions," featuring keynote speaker Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots on April 4 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Blake Student Commons at Bay Path College in Longmeadow. Tickets for this event are $50 per person.

Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle takes a look at NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's career. Perhaps one of the lesser heralded accomplishments of Tagliabue's reign was the stadium building boom that revitalized the league, More than two-thirds of the teams in the league are either playing in or building stadiums that didn't exist when Tagliabue took over in 1989.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss also offers his latest Patriots mailbag.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.

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