Indianapolis Colts ‘All-Pro’ punter Pat McAfee surprisingly announced his retirement on Wednesday, as ‘The Boomstick’ is hanging up his cleats after only 8 seasons in the NFL.
Facing his third knee surgery in four years and already pursuing a side-career regarding his successful stand-up comedy tour, McAfee is set to join Barstool Sports:
From the sounds of things, McAfee will have a fully functioning Barstool Sports radio and TV studio in the center of downtown Indianapolis, and it appears to be an opportunity that the Colts eccentric punter simply felt like he couldn’t refuse—getting the chance to run his ‘own show’:
While football was simply a ‘job’ for McAfee, requiring him to punt a football on a 4th down every now and then, it appears as though he’s seeking more fulfillment in a life that can make people laugh–rather than awe at a long punt:
"“That’s when I really fell in love with the thought of making people laugh,” said McAfee via WTHR’s Bob Kravitz. “The NFL is really cool, and if I was a quarterback or played a position where I could have more of a grip on the game, I’d really love it. But I didn’t feel fulfillment out of punting. I didn’t feel fulfillment the way I did once I started making people laugh. Like ‘cool, I’m really impacting people.’ Now I’ll have the freedom to do that full time.”"
Nevertheless, the 29 year old appears to be walking away during the peak of his playing career, as he was recently named to the Pro Bowl and led the league in gross punting average at 49.3 yards per punt. Not to mention, McAfee had the NFL’s 3rd highest net yards per punt average at 42.7 net yards per punt–being an ‘All-Pro’ snub.
It comes as a massive loss to the Colts special teams units, as McAfee was a true difference-maker as far as field position was concerned. Simply put, he was one of the best punters in the entire league–if not the best.
While legendary placekicker Adam Vinatieri is set to return, the Colts will have to find not only a new punter, but also a new player to handle kickoffs and hold field goals for Vinatieri.
McAfee said that one of the hardest things was telling the shocking news to team owner Jim Irsay:
"“He told me he wasn’t expecting it,” added McAfee via WTHR’s Bob Kravitz. “Then he told me how much he appreciated how much I’ve done for the Colts. It was such a cool thing because I was most nervous to talk to him. I didn’t want him to think I was leaving him because that wasn’t the case at all. He told me I have his complete support, that whenever or what I need, I can call him.”"
It’s not shocking in the sense that McAfee is pursuing a professional career other than football, it’s just shocking that it occurred so soon as the punter still had at least a handful of All-Pro seasons left–as well as several years of making millions of NFL earnings coming his way.
However, he’s pursuing his passion, and no one can fault McAfee for that at the end of the day.
That being said, McAfee will be incredibly missed on the football field and locker room by the Colts next season, but we wish him the best in his post-playing career and future endeavors.