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Pat McAfee admits injuries played a role in his retirement decision

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For former Colts punter Pat McAfee, it sounds like things just came together perfectly for him in his decision to retire from the NFL after eight seasons.

The opportunity to take a job with Barstool Sports - he’ll be the COO of Barstool Indy - added to his injury issues made it a perfectly understandable decision to walk away. During an interview with 1070 the Fan’s JMV today, McAfee explained more of that reasoning.

“Well it’s kind of been in the works here for a couple years,” he said, “because I’ve just found so much fulfillment in making people laugh. It started with the Bob and Tom show and doing stand up, it’s just kind of become something that’s really fulfilling to just make people laugh and kind of forget about their life for a little bit. So it’s always kind of been in the backburner, but when you’re in football you’ve got to focus fully on football because that’s what my teammates deserve, my coaches deserve, the organization and the fanbase deserve. So it’s kind of been back there for a few years and this year staring down my third surgery in four years and then this opportunity popped up, and I got a chance to stay in Indiana, it was really just like the best opportunity I think I will ever get offered for a post-NFL career. I was excited to take it and I think Indianapolis people are going to love what we bring to Indy and I’m just trying to put out some good content, man.”

His injuries, however, certainly played a part in his decision too. McAfee pulled out of the Pro Bowl this year due to another knee surgery, which was his third in four years. He talked about how much of a role those injuries played in his decision.

“Well it was definitely a large part,” he said. “I mean, my brain and my shoulders are good, because I don’t play a hand-to-hand combat position in the NFL, but my knees and joints have just been beat up. And I had bad knees coming into the league because I played soccer since I was three, but these past couple years it’s been pretty tough. I mean, the last six games of the season there I was on Toradol as much as I could and after games and after days that I would kick in practice I wouldn’t even be able to walk at night. I mean, it just got to the point where my knees hurt so bad. And after I looked at the scans with my doctor, I have another surgery coming up here on February 22, and it’s very obvious that I’m going to need more procedures in the future if I kept going, so that was definitely a thought.”

McAfee said he was willing to do it because of how much he loved the Colts, but this opportunity was just the perfect scenario for him. And later on in the interview he explained that he probably would have retired anyway even if this Barstool opportunity hadn’t been there and instead start his own production company.

It’s really cool that McAfee will now get the chance to pursue his passions even more through his new job, as though he was fantastic at punting and seemed to enjoy that, he enjoys making people laugh even more. He wants to continue to give back, and it’s an admirable pursuit. I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if that was the only factor in his decision.

But he’s also been dealing with injuries, and he’s set to undergo another surgery later this month. He’s already had three knee surgeries in the past four years and knew there would be more coming in the future too, while he also said that he couldn’t really walk after punting during the final few weeks of the season. That’s not a good situation, and so even though McAfee’s retiring ‘early’ at the age of 29, injuries seemed to play at least a role in that too.

It’s really hard to fault McAfee for his decision, as though the Colts will surely miss him, he’s moving to a new career that really excites him and that should be much easier on his knees after so many injuries from punting.