Reich: Vinatieri one of 'mentally toughest' to ever play

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  • By Adam Maya NFL.com
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Adam Vinatieri's playing days looked like they might be over. Just a week ago, the future Hall of Famer had many thinking he might retire or be released following another rough day on the gridiron.

"You'll hear from me tomorrow," Vinatieri told The Athletic's Stephen Holder last Sunday, even though he wasn't scheduled to speak with the media for another two days.

Colts coach Frank Reich did the talking instead, asserting the following day that he had "zero concern" about Vinatieri's struggles.

Even though they were clearly concerning. Through two games, Vinatieri had already missed three extra points and two field goals. In his 24-year career, he's never missed more than three extra points in a season. In 2018, he missed only four of 27 field goal attempts.

Reich appeared on Good Morning Football on Tuesday and was asked what he says to a player in that situation. It sounded like there weren't a lot of words involved.

"You trust him. You trust your guys," Reich said. "The good news is, it's easy to have belief and conviction about the person and the player that Adam Vinatieri is. This guy, as a kicker, you would have to talk about this guy as one of the mentally toughest players to ever play the game. That's what it takes to do what he's done."

Vinatieri kept doing it this past Sunday when he made all five of his kicks, including a pair of field goals. Indianapolis needed all of them in a three-point win versus the Falcons. Vinatieri even opened the game's scoring with a 49-yard field goal.

"We had no doubt he would work his way through the little two-game thing that happened, and he certainly responded on Sunday," Reich said.

Pretty clutch from the player responsible for the most such kicks in the history of the league.

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