PATRIOTS SIGN PLACEKICKER ADAM VINATIERI
FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the signing of placekicker Adam Vinatieri today to a multi-year deal. With his signing, the Patriots retain their franchise designation for the 2003 season. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Vinatieri, 29, became the first player in team history to receive the franchise player designation on Feb. 21, 2002. In 2001, he became just the second player in NFL history to score at least 100 points in each of his first six seasons, joining Denver's Jason Elam, and helped the Patriots claim their first Super Bowl title with a game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired. It was his fifth game-winning kick of the season and the 13th of his career. Four of those five game-winning kicks came in the Patriots final eight games of the season. In the Patriots' divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders (1/19/02), he converted each of his three field goal attempts despite heavy snowfall, including a 45-yard kick to tie the game with 27 seconds remaining to force overtime. In the overtime period, he scored the game-winning points with a 23-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 16-13 victory.
The 6-foot, 200-pound placekicker originally signed with the Patriots on June 28, 1996 as a non-drafted first-year free agent after one season with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1996. The young prospect out-dueled veteran PK Matt Bahr for the kicking duties that year and scored 120 points in the team's Super Bowl season. It was the eighth-best performance by a first-year player in NFL history.
In six seasons, Vinatieri has scored 688 career points, which is third in franchise history, just four points behind John Smith's 692. In addition, Vinatieri also owns the franchise's postseason scoring record with 54 career points. In six years, he has not missed a game (96) and has converted 160 of 199 regular season field goal attempts (.804) and 206 of 211 PATs (.976).