After New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick already released a statement about recently retired kicker Adam Vinatieri, team owner Robert Kraft also issued one. Praising the long-time Patriot for his clutch performances and the respect he earned early in his career, Kraft noted that Vinatieri would soon find his way to both the Patriots and the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
Adam Vinatieri earned the respect of his teammates and Patriots fans everywhere in 1996 when he caught Herschel Walker from behind for a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff return. For the next 10 years, that respect and admiration grew with every clutch performance and game-winning kick, especially his iconic 48-yard field goal as time expired in Super Bowl XXXVI. For Patriots fans, the feeling of that first Super Bowl championship will never be replicated. As memorable as Adam’s Super Bowl performances were, he will always be remembered in New England for the greatest field goal in NFL history — the game-tying 45-yarder in the Snow Bowl against the Raiders. He retires as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer and I am certain will soon be celebrated as a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Vinatieri spent 10 of his 24 seasons with the Patriots, and helped the team win three Super Bowls. He later added another ring with the Indianapolis Colts as well.
After spending the 2020 season out of football, the 48-year-old announced his retirement on Wednesday. He will leave the NFL as its all-time leading scorer (2,673 points), while having played in more combined regular season and playoff games than anybody else (397).