Colts hope new kicker is hot stuff

As the record-holder for most points scored, Adam Vinatieri may be the greatest kicker in NFL history.

But last year, after his foot got shaky and he began missing and went on injured reserve, he and the Indianapolis Colts parted ways.

On Wednesday, his potential replacement, Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship of the University of Georgia, was announced as one of 10 undrafted free agents the Colts acquired since the conclusion of the draft last weekend.

Winner of the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker, Blankenship made 80 field goals in 97 attempts and all 200 of his point-after tries during his college career. His 440 points are the second highest total in Southeastern Conference history. His long make was 55 yards.

On the field, Blankenship wears glasses so thick they have been referred to as goggles, and he has been known to wear pink kicking shoes. He won games with clutch boots, but coaches sometimes sought more heft on kickoffs.

The Colts have Chase McLaughlin, 24, who played for Illinois, was an undrafted free agent who signed with Buffalo last year but also passed through the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers in 2019 before signing with Indianapolis and appearing in four games. He has a one-year deal.

Vinatieri, 47, is a free agent who does not want to retire and is looking for a team.

It is not always the end of hope when a college football player is not selected in the NFL draft. The draft officially concludes after seven rounds, but pro teams do not cease searching for talent.

In addition to Blankenship, Indianapolis collected signatures from defensive tackle Kameron Cline of South Dakota; defensive end Kendall Coleman of Syracuse; tight end Farrod Green of Mississippi State; wide receiver DeMichael Harris at Southern Mississippi, tackle Carter O’Donnell of the University of Alberta; cornerback Travis Reed of South Alabama; safety Donald Rutledge of Georgia Southern; linebacker Brandon Wellington of Washington; and defensive tackle Chris Williams of Wagner.

The group demonstrates scouting personnel at some schools that are not at the top of the food chain and even a rare deal made with a collegian from Canada.

Two more players, Green and Harris (also a kick returner), join the sweepstakes to see who will be a target for quarterback Philip Rivers when the 2020 NFL season opens.

Williams, a 302-pound playmaker from small-school Wagner, appeared in the Senior Bowl and Hula Bowl.