Pat McAfee has chosen to walk away from football. At just 29 years old, the ex-Colts punter has hung up his cleats for a microphone. McAfee has chosen to pursue business with Barstool Sports, a company that reports sporting news with a twist of comedy. Barstool Sports is growing at a blistering pace, and the offer to join them was too sweet for McAfee to pass up.
McAfee leaves behind him eight seasons with the Colts where he captured the hearts of Indianapolis. The people’s punter, Pat was involved in the community as much as possible, and toured the state on his comedy tour.
In his retirement announcement on twitter, McAfee wrote, “Could I have played a few more years? I think so, but I know that to be great in the NFL, which is what my teammates and Colts Nation deserves, I have to focus completely on kicking balls. I’m at the point now where I want to shift my obsessive like focus, to the world a happier place and hopefully, a better place.”
To say he knows how to be great in the NFL is an understatement. In 2014, he made his first Pro Bowl and was named an All-Pro. He again made the Pro Bowl this past season, but did not participate due to a knee injury.
McAfee transcended the position of punter, widely regarded as a joke in professional football. He brought attention to the position, and made it seem cool. His trendy hashtags and bright smiles on Sundays made the fans flock to him. He never took himself too seriously, he knew he wasn’t going to win or lose a game for the team, but he had a good time doing what he did.
This decision seemed shocking to some, but makes a good deal of sense. McAfee would have been entering recovery for his third knee injury this offseason. Typically, knees are important instruments for kicking footballs, so naturally that could be an impediment to being the Pro Bowl caliber punter he’s been the past few years. At best, he could squeeze maybe three or four more years out of those legs of his. While the lucrative $6 million he was supposed to make would have been a solid bonus, McAfee went with his heart.
While most cities regard their star athletes leaving with anger and rejection, Indianapolis has supported him. The comment section on his retirement post on twitter is filled with support and well wishes. The Colts main twitter page tweeted out a picture of him, branded with the hashtag “#ThankYouPat.”
The support for McAfee may be because he isn’t leaving the city. Barstool Sports have promised him his own office in Indianapolis to do his new line of work. If the past is any indication of the future, McAfee is far from done with the city of Indianapolis, and will continue to be the bright shining smile at the major events around the city that citizens have grown to love.