Pat McAfee’s retirement from the Indianapolis Colts caught everyone by surprise earlier this offseason, and he’s already been getting started as COO of Barstool Indy.
That doesn’t mean that kicker Adam Vinatieri has given up on McAfee returning to the Colts, as Vinatieri told Sirius XM NFL Radio last night that he’s still begging McAfee to return to the Colts.
"I’m still begging him to come back," Vinatieri said, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez, one of the hosts on the Sirius show last night.
McAfee told Vinatieri midway through last season about possibly retiring. "I tried to talk him out of it," Vinatieri said last night. "I said, 'Man, do both [football and comedy]. 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. I just miss him. I talked to him [on Tuesday] and I was like, ‘Man, are you sure? It’s not the same without you, buddy.'"
In the end, though, McAfee has made the decision to pursue a comedic career - which is something he’ll certainly be good at. It will have a big impact on the Colts, however, and Vinatieri knows it.
"He was such a threat, pinning returners and putting the ball in the corner and inside the 10-yard line," Vinatieri said, while also lauding McAfee’s value on kickoffs. "He’s got every single trick in the kickoff book you can imagine with onside kicks. He can kick it out of the back of the end zone or drop it on the goal-line. He’s such a great athlete and a major competitive type of person."
That’s the player the Colts will need to replace this offseason: their punter, kickoff specialist, and field goal holder. It’s that last one that will have a special impact on Vinatieri, since he works so closely with the holder. Vinatieri and McAfee worked tremendously well together for the last eight seasons, so now suddenly the 44-year old kicker will be working with a new holder. He’s been around the block and has worked with numerous holders so it ultimately won’t be that huge of a deal, but it will be a big adjustment nonetheless.
The Colts, meanwhile, will need to find the guy who’s going to handle McAfee’s roles. Vinatieri obviously won’t be kicking off, punting, or holding, so the Colts need a guy that can do all three of those (or at the very least punt and kickoff, while finding someone else on the roster already to hold).
Vinatieri is still hoping McAfee will come back, but that’s looking unlikely. McAfee has already started work at Barstool Indy, while he’s also working on his health - he tweeted a picture today of him getting ready for surgery. It was something that has been planned and it’s another reminder of McAfee’s knee injuries that have taken their toll. Vinatieri can beg all he wants, but it’s likely that McAfee will stay retired - his knees are beat up, and he’s also doing what he loves. Nobody can blame him for that, either.