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Adam Vinatieri on getting booed: ‘I appreciate it’

11.18.12 at 9:35 pm ET
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Tom Brady was more welcoming of former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri than the Gillette Stadium crowd. (AP)

FOXBORO — This wasn’t Adam Vinatieri’s first trip back to Gillette Stadium as a member of the visiting team. But the boos in this visit were louder than ever for the former Patriots kicker, famous for sending two Super Bowl-winning kicks through the uprights for New England.

Less than five minutes into the game, Vinatieri made his way onto the field for an extra-point try after a Delone Carter touchdown — the first score of the game. And fans at Gillette Stadium made their displeasure for the Colts kicker heard.

Vinatieri, who departed from New England after the 2005 season, is in his seventh year with the Colts, and he has made the trip back to Foxboro four times as a member of the opposition. So he’s used to the hostility. But he said after the Colts’ 59-24 loss on Sunday that some of the fans who were booing him during the game also said that they still appreciate the most storied kicker in Patriots franchise history.

“Some ones that were booing at the very end were saying, ‘Yeah, we still love you man,’ ” said Vinatieri, who spent 10 years in New England. “So it’s all good. It’s gamesmanship, or whatever you want to call it, so I respect that. Most of the people, if I acknowledge them, they go, ‘Hey, it’s all good.’ So it’s all good, though, and I understand the deal. That’s home-field advantage. That’s what you’re supposed to do — get loud and get rowdy and try to make it hard on the other team. You just put your blinders on and just keep going forward.”

There aren’t many players left on the Patriots from the 2005 season — Vinatieri’s last on the team — but before the game he and Tom Brady had a nice exchange and stole a chance to catch up before the competition set in.

“I’ve got a lot of love for a guy like him, and all my other buddies that we played together for a bunch of years and accomplished a lot of neat things,” Vinatieri said. “I don’t talk to them often enough, so it’s nice to catch up with them when I can.”

Earlier in the week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that he doesn’t think there’s anything more Vinatieri can do to prove that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Vinatieri said that he hadn’t heard the comments made by Belichick, but that it is a “heck of an honor” to be mentioned in that light.

“I don’t think about any of that kind of stuff. I just try to keep on putting more chapters into the book of my career, and we’ll see where it all lays at the end of my career,” Vinatieri said. “We’ve had a good history and I have huge respect for him, and I appreciate it.”

At the end of Sunday’s game, Vinatieri’s stat line read like this: 3-for-3 on PATs, and 1-for-2 on field goal attempts (made a 47-yarder with 5:51 remaining in the second quarter, and missed a 58-yard attempt as time expired in the first half).

But when it comes to hearing the boos at the place he used to call home for so many years, Vinatieri simply smiled, laughed a little bit at the mention, and said, “That’s the yearly ritual, it seems like. I appreciate it.”

Read More: Adam Vinatieri, Bill Belichick, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots
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