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Colts punter Pat McAfee announces retirement from NFL

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee is retiring from the NFL, he announced tonight in a way only McAfee can - via a “press conference” on Comedy Central and on Twitter.

McAfee is walking away from football to take a job with Barstool Sports, but he says he’s staying in Indianapolis and will have a radio and TV studio downtown.

McAfee says he thinks he could have played a few more years but the time is right for him to make this career move. He’s had three knee surgeries in the last four years, and he talked with owner Jim Irsay for an hour and 45 minutes earlier this week about the decision.

McAfee spent his eight-year NFL career with the Colts, establishing himself as the NFL’s best punter and special teams player. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro in 2014, and he averaged 46.4 yards per punt during his tenure with the team. He proved to be a tremendous punter, kickoff specialist, field goal holder, onside kick specialist, and was pretty good at the fake punt pass, too. He holds several Colts records for punting and kickoffs.

He told WTHR’s Bob Kravitz that the hardest part of the whole thing was telling Jim Irsay of his decision on Monday night.

"He told me he wasn't expecting it," McAfee said. “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. He asked me a couple of times, 'Do you want another year?' And I told him, this team wouldn't deserve that if I had mixed focus. He said that if I ever want to kick a ball again, it's going to be in a Colts uniform."

It’s always possible that McAfee will reconsider his decision and return to the NFL - and the Colts - one day, but he’s officially retiring from the NFL to pursue a different career, one that seems to be his true passion.