Vinatieri shrugs off Gillette boo birds

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri was booed every time he stepped onto the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday afternoon, something he’s gotten used to over the years visiting Foxborough since leaving for the Colts after the 2005 season.

“The same ones that were booing at the end were going ‘Ahhh, you know, we still love you man,’” Vinatieri said with a smile after the game. “It’s all good, it’s gamesmanship or whatever you want to call it. I respect that. ... I understand the deal. That’s home field advantage that’s what you’re supposed to do, get loud, get rowdy and try to make it hard on the other team. You put your blinders on and just keep going forward.”

Vinatieri, of course, is probably the most clutch kicker in NFL history, a reputation he earned primarily with the Patriots from 1996-2006. In two of the team’s three Super Bowl victories, he kicked 40-plus yard field goals to seal the wins in the waning seconds. And let’s not forget the Snow Bowl, in which he booted a 46-yard game-tying field goal in a driving snowstorm.

Earlier this week, Patriots coach Bill Belicick lauded Vinatieri when asked if he thought he belonged in the Hall of Fame, calling him “one of the greatest kickers I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in the league.”

“I haven’t heard that. It’s a heck of an honor if he said that,” Vinatieri said Sunday. “I don’t think about that kind of stuff (Hall of Fame), 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. We’ve had a good history and I have huge respect for him and I appreciate it.”