Pat McAfee made the most surprising announcement of the year when he retired on live television just before the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl punter was in his prime and still young (29 years old), but he believed his future is in comedy and not in kicking footballs.
His shocking decision to become a full-time comedian sent fans for a loop and left the Colts with a gaping hole at punter, which will be difficult to fill. Kicker Adam Vinatieri realizes just how valuable McAfee was to the Colts, and he’s already begun recruiting him to come back to Indianapolis.
“I’m still begging him to come back,” Vinatieri said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I tried to talk him out of it. I said, ‘Man, do both. You’re so good at punting. We need you. I need you.’ That was selfish of me to even say that because whatever he wants to do — and I know he’s going to be so successful at this — I’m excited for him.”
Vinatieri has spent the last 11 years with the Colts, eight of which were with McAfee as the punter. With both players being special teamers – as kickers and punters, as well as McAfee being Vinatieri’s holder – they’ve gotten to know each other over the years.
It’s understandable that the two would be good friends, so McAfee’s exit from the NFL came as a surprise to Vinatieri, and it’s caused him to miss his fellow Colt.
“I just miss him. I talked to him (Tuesday) and I was like, ‘Man, are you sure? It’s not the same without you, buddy,” Vinatieri said.
In addition to being a terrific punter, McAfee was a great chemistry guy in the locker room. He was a character who had fun on the field and off it, always making his teammates laugh and lifting their spirits.
That’s not something that’s easily replaced, which is evident in Vinatieri’s comments.
“It’s not the same not having him around,” Vinatieri said. “And like I told him, the true people aren’t going to know how badly we miss you until you’re gone.”