- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Kicker Adam Vinatieri has only played on two teams during his 18-year career.
Vinatieri spent the first 10 years of his career with the Patriots and the past eight years with the Colts. Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game will be the 25th time that he has played in a game between the two teams.
“It really never gets old,” he said. “Two great organizations, great coaches, great players, obviously. It's one of those ones. It's the Sox-Yankees, if you will. That kind of thing where I think both teams respect each other and know what comes to the table. It's going to be a fun game.”
Vinatieri has scored 122 points in his career against the Colts and 37 points in his career against the Patriots. He's New England's all-time scoring leader with 1,158 points.
“Mentally, he's as tough and as consistent as they come,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “I can't think of anybody, certainly no other kicker, that I've coached that I would put ahead of him in terms of mental toughness, concentration, focus, professionalism, all of those things. ... He's a great player and a Hall of Fame kicker if there ever was one.”
Receiver Deion Branch is the latest former Patriot to join the Colts. Safety Sergio Brown and cornerback Darius Butler are also former Patriots now with Indianapolis. Former Colts receiver Austin Collie is now with the Patriots.
“It's kind of the nature of the league,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, laughing. “There's a lot of guys that switch teams. There's coaches that switch teams. We've had guys from the Colts that have been on the Patriots and vice versa, so I think we're just used to it at this point.”