Colts punter Pat McAfee has shown over the years that he can do a lot of things. He's the league's best punter and almost certainly headed for his second straight Pro Bowl. He's the Colts' kickoff specialist and routinely gets the ball into the end zone. He's the Colts' holder on field goal attempts and has quite a leg for field goals himself. He orchestrated a perfect 18 yard fake punt run earlier this year for a first down. He is known to make some impressive hits on opposing returns. He has been seen making one-handed catches in pre-game warmups. And, off the field, McAfee has successfully performed stand-up comedy.
Could playing quarterback be added to that list of accomplishments? It's possible, though unlikely.
Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck has already been ruled out for this weekend's game against the Miami Dolphins, and backup Matt Hasselbeck is really beat up. His status for this weekend's game is very much unknown. If Hasselbeck can't play either, it would be Charlie Whitehurst making his first start of the season. The Colts lost practice squad quarterback Alex Tanney yesterday, as the Titans signed him to their active roster, and the Colts lost their emergency quarterback yesterday as well when they placed Griff Whalen on injured reserve.
So, with only Charlie Whitehurst healthy at the moment, it would be Pat McAfee as the emergency quarterback. "He throws pretty good," head coach Chuck Pagano joked (we think) at his press conference on Monday. "We'll get him ready, we'll give him a couple plays. Go wildcat and direct snap, single-wing. We're putting together some stuff right now."
McAfee has actually thrown one NFL pass in his career, a perfect one downfield on a fake punt pass last year against the Cowboys. It should have gone for a first down - and more - but was dropped by Dewey McDonald. Make no mistake, though, it was a good-looking pass. And during training camp, McAfee will occasionally act as the quarterback during positional drills and throw passes to wide receivers.
McAfee, seeing his opportunity, volunteered to play quarterback on twitter on Monday night:
In case of emergency... Call pic.twitter.com/joZ6L9JKmF— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 21, 2015
Ultimately, it's just some good-natured joking going on with the Colts, but the injuries to their quarterbacks is no laughing matter. Even if it ends up being Charlie Whitehurst starting, however, it's expected that the Colts would add another option behind him. So it's very, very unlikely that McAfee would actually have to play, but he is their emergency option.
"He's a heck of an athlete," Pagano said. "Let's just hope we don't have to go down that road." I think Colts fans, despite their love for McAfee, would agree with Pagano's sentiments wholeheartedly.