Stover Signing Produces Mixed Feelings

Forgive Matt Stover for feeling somewhat conflicted when he returns to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Stover is filling in as the Colts' placekicker while starter, and close friend, Adam Vinatieri, is recovering from knee surgery. Stover is also a few months removed from a stint as the longtime kicker for the Baltimore Ravens, the Colts' opponent this week.

The 20-year NFL veteran spent 13 years with the Ravens. Before that, Stover was with the Cleveland Browns for five seasons before the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996. He ranks as the second most accurate kicker in league history (among kickers with 150 attempts), connecting on over 80 percent in his last 10 seasons with the AFC North team.

He is fourth all-time for the most points scored all-time in NFL history with 1,975, only 27 points behind George Blanda's third-place total of 2,002. Stover has kicked in every NFL stadium except two, the new facilities in Arizona and Dallas. And, if he kicks an extra point or field goal on Sunday, he will have produced points against every team in the league.

"I've got some friends still on that (Baltimore) team. Good guys there. Good organization. I had 13 great years there," Stover said earlier this week. "It will be strange to be on the other sideline, to say the least. But I'm excited to be (with the Colts) right now. The Indianapolis Colts are a great organization. (They) accepted me as one of their own and it's been just great.

"(Playing against the Ravens) will be fun. What a great opportunity to go back to the fans that I've come to know and love. Good people there. I had great experiences there. But I'm here with Indianapolis. I'm here as a Colt. And I'm here to win that game."

The ties to Baltimore and the Ravens run deep. He remains a fan favorite. And from all indications, he remains very fond of the city and the people who continue to support the team. His family — wife Debbie and children Jenna Lee, Jacob Matthew and Joe Mark — continue to reside in the city.

Don't get him wrong, though. Stover, who was not re-signed by the Ravens at the end of the 2008 season, is fully on board as a member of the Colts. And why not? He has made all six of his field goal attempts and is a perfect 13-for-13 in extra-point attempts since signing with Indianapolis on Oct. 14. And he's playing on one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.

"To be able to now go and kick against my team that I've been actually with this (Ravens) organization 18 years, to be able to go back and kick against them will be fun," Stover said.

"(Coming to the Colts) has been an opportunity for me to be part of another great organization. Wow. I can't say enough here. Being 9-0, heck I've never been 5-0 much less 9-0. So to be a part of something like that is very special, especially at this point in your career. That's one of the main reasons why I chose to say that absolutely this is a great opportunity for me to come back and play."


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