FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla—Somewhere in the home of an NFL football player sits a list that is meant to be completed when the final whistle sounds.
Workouts, diets, strategies, and other off season drill are all there for him to get ready for whats to come, each list specific to a player's needs.
At the top of the list for Matt Stover the last few years, however, is a bit of an oxymoron.
"Retirement was always a piece of my offseason the last couple of years," said Stover, who still mulled it even when he had a steady job with the Ravens. "You always have to think about the end. and how you want to go out."
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Hence why instead of a major offseason getaway in 2009, the Stover's added something to their spring and summer plans.
"The biggest thing that we did is my wife and I decided to stay in Baltimore which gave me the opportunity to stay in shape to be able to kick," said Stover. "If we would have moved it would have taken that away."
Then in May, the Ravens took his roster spot away, but still a then 41-year old Stover didn't veer from his original intentions.
"As it turned out, Baltimore didn't want me," said Stover, who was released by the team in early May. "Therefore I stayed in shape during the offseason, figuring that if an opportunity came up, then I would be ready."
So far its been a solid premonition, because nine months later Stover has made it all the way back from the waters of free agency to the shores of Miami with the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. He came in to replace the injured Adam Vinatieri, and did a good enough job that the team chose Stover to continue his placekicking duties for the rest of the season.
Now he makes history, as he becomes the oldest player in the history of the Super Bowl, entering Sun Life Stadium a few days past his 42nd birthday.
"It wasn't about the money, it was about the opportunity to win a championship," said Stover of coming back to football, which he said was not something he felt was a necessity following a nearly two decade career with the Browns and the Ravens. "You know what, staying in shape and getting the opportunity I guess here with the Colts was the right thing to do."
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To make sure he did the right things to start kicking again, and go onto eventually break a big game age record, Stover followed his instincts, as he'd done the summer before.
"Your using your experience, your going off prior experience and what worked for you, staying in shape physically," said Stover of getting ready to kick fulltime again. "So with this case it was all about me just keeping those things intact and this team has done a great job of leaving me the latitude to do what is necessary with regard to it."
That trust by the Colts in his abilities, and Stover in his own work habits, helped him make 9-of-11 field goal attempts during the regular season and then everyone he took in the playoffs, failing to miss an extra point all season long.
"I'm really happy the team decided to bring him in instead of a younger guy," said rookie Pat McAfee, who served as the holder for Stover this season. "What Matt has done at the age of 42-and it might sound weird-is rebuilt his career, a lot of people thought his career was done, that he couldn't kick anymore.
"The Ravens cut him, nobody really wanted to give him a shot, and he comes here and performs amazing and now he's in a Super Bowl."
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So while he's in the sun again as a kicker, and literally in the warmth of South Florida, Stover will keep his plans for the future on hold.
"When you 42 and still kicking in the NFL, and your 42, the thing you don't do is you don't think about next year," said Stover. "You think about what's best for this team right now, and what's best right now for me is to kick well, and that will take care of itself."