The Indianapolis Colts claimed kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday.
McLaughlin could be insurance in case veteran Adam Vinatieri (knee) is unable to kick this week. Vinatieri is on the team’s injury report for the first time this season and was listed as a limited practice participant.
McLaughlin has played in seven games this season as a fill-in kicker for the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. He has made 13 of 17 field-goal attempts and connected on all 15 extra-point attempts.
A 23-year-old rookie, McLaughlin could be a candidate for the permanent job with the Colts if Vinatieri retires after the season. He was waived by San Francisco with regular kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps) now healthy.
One of McLaughlin’s misses with the 49ers was a 47-yard attempt in overtime against Seattle that badly missed. San Francisco would have improved to 9-0 if he made the kick but later lost 27-24.
Vinatieri is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,673 career points, but he has been spotty this season. He is just 17 of 25 on field-goal tries — a career-low 68 percent accuracy — while also operating on a career-worst rate on extra points (22 of 28, 78.6 percent).
Vinatieri, who turns 47 on Dec. 28, reportedly considered retirement after struggling earlier this season.
He made just one of four field-goal attempts last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. He made a 28-yarder and missed three attempts, with two being blocked.
Vinatieri’s 46-yard attempt in the fourth quarter was blocked and returned for a touchdown. He also had a 53-yarder blocked and had a 55-yarder miss wide to the right.
Indianapolis waived tight end Matt Lengel to open a roster spot for McLaughlin. He played in one game for the Colts — the loss to the Titans — and played five snaps without a catch.
Lengel has five career catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns in 19 games (three starts) over four seasons with the New England Patriots (2016), Cleveland Browns (2017), Cincinnati Bengals (2018) and Colts.
–Field Level Media