Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will finish this season on injured reserve with an injured left knee.
The 46-year-old Vinatieri hopes his stellar career ends differently.
The Colts announced Monday that Vinatieri will have season-ending surgery for an injury he attempted to play through all season after first experiencing soreness in the knee at training camp.
Coach Frank Reich said team doctors had monitored Vinatieri throughout the season and that it didn’t affect Vinatieri’s performance at practice. And the NFL’s career scoring leader repeatedly refused to say that the injury played any part in an uncharacteristic season in which he missed a league-high 14 kicks — six extra points and eight field goals.
Reich said when the knee flared up again last week, Vinatieri had a scan that revealed he needed surgery.
In Dallas, meanwhile, the Cowboys waived struggling kicker Brett Maher and replaced him with eight-year veteran Kai Forbath, who was briefly with the Patriots.
Maher is the only kicker in NFL history with three field goals of at least 60 yards, but the Cowboys couldn’t count on him for the shorter ones that are often more critical.
In his second season, Maher was just 1 of 5 in the 40-to-49-yard range and had two more misses in the 30-to-39-yard range.
Panthers stick with Allen
The Panthers have lost five straight games and are out of playoff contention, which would appear to be a perfect time to get a look at rookie third-round draft pick Will Grier.
But that won’t happen — at least not this week. Interim coach Perry Fewell said the quarterback situation will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, but right now the team is sticking with Kyle Allen this week against the Seattle Seahawks because he gives the team the best chance to win.
Bears’ Smith out for year
The Chicago Bears played almost all of their 31-24 win Thursday over the Dallas Cowboys without injured linebacker Roquan Smith, and now they’ll have to finish the season without him.
Bears coach Matt Nagy said Smith suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the win and will go on season-ending injured reserve.
Smith was the eighth pick of the 2018 draft and has been a starter since early last year. He experienced a shaky start to the season, missing the Week 4 win over Minnesota because of what the team called a ‘‘personal issue.’’
However, he bounced back and played his strongest game of the season against Detroit a week before suffering the pectoral muscle injury on the first drive against Dallas.
‘‘Overall I really thought you felt him, especially here in the last several games, really turning it on, really playing fast,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He’s always had that every play that he gets, every game that he plays.
‘‘For the rest of his career he’s only going to get better and better in my opinion.’’
The buzz about Buzz
Vic Fangio has been around the NFL long enough to understand the buzz swirling around his rookie quarterback. What he doesn’t get is the Buzz about Drew Lock.
After Lock won his first start against the Chargers two weeks ago, his teammates razzed the rookie, nicknaming him ‘‘Buzz Lightyear’’ because the large white wristband he wore to help him remember the play calls resembled the Disney icon’s forearm laser beam. At center Connor McGovern’s suggestion, Lock impersonated Lightyear firing his laser beam after each of the three touchdown passes he threw in the Broncos’ 38-24 win.
“It blew up on Twitter to where the offensive line was like, ‘We should shoot the laser after you score a touchdown,'’’ Lock said. ‘‘All right, you want to do it, we'll do it. We fully embraced it.’’
Asked for his thoughts on Lock’s Lightyear imitation, Fangio, 61, professed ignorance about the cultural reference.
‘‘I don’t know anything about it,’’ Fangio said. ‘‘I mean, I know it has something to do with Drew, but honest to God, I don’t know what the parallel is there.’’
Fangio said he hasn’t seen any of the Toy Story blockbusters.
“No, I can’t tell you the last movie I've seen.’’