Very rarely do you see an executive so widely criticized publicly upon his firing as Ryan Grigson was when the Colts let him go earlier this offseason. There were several former players who made it quite clear that they didn’t think much of Grigson, and the loudest was punter Pat McAfee.
At the time he was a member of the Colts, but he obviously has since retired and begun working with Barstool Indy. Grigson, meanwhile, has a new job working with the Cleveland Browns as their Senior Personnel Executive. So everyone has moved on, right?
Pat McAfee is still making it known that he’s not a fan of Ryan Grigson whatsoever. At the annual Celebrity Softball Challenge last week, McAfee told the fans that “It’s especially nice not having a boss anymore. Especially Ryan Grigson,” according to Pro Football Spot’s Jake Arthur.
And then today, McAfee appeared on PFT Live with Mike Florio and was asked what one trade he’d make in the NFL today. His answer? Sending Ryan Grigson to the CFL. He’s clearly not letting things go, and he said that his hate for Grigson extends all the way back to their very first meeting.
“The first conversation we had together,” McAfee said, according to Florio. “He told me I was the lowest thing in the organization, and he does not want to keep me. Mr. Irsay is forcing him to do it. That’s our first conversation we had. Whenever he cut our entire team [in 2012] and only kept a couple people, the first conversation he told me I was the lowest thing in the organization and the only reason why I’m there because for some reason, Mr. Irsay won’t cut [me]. Literally. It’s not a love-hate relationship. It’s been a hate relationship since day one. Whenever he got fired, I was real excited. It was a great day in my life. The only way the Cleveland Browns could get worse, they brought him in. I’m trying to save the Cleveland Browns because the people of Cleveland deserve it. They’re beautiful, they’re amazing people. I think they should just send him to Canada. I think it would be great news for everybody, and for America, and that’s what I’m really here for. America.”
That fits with what he said earlier this offseason too, as he told 1070 the Fan’s JMV that Grigson called him the lowest thing in the organization, wanted to cut him, and didn’t only because Jim Irsay wanted to keep him. Basically, what it boils down to is that McAfee disliked Grigson because of the way the GM treated people, including himself.
There’s no doubt that this makes Grigson look bad, and if not because of the way he treated McAfee (calling someone the lowest thing in the organization when you first meet him probably isn’t the best strategy for a new, first-time GM), because of the fact that McAfee became the best punter in the NFL. While at the time Grigson might have been a bit more justified in cutting McAfee (because he wasn’t the best at that point and had been arrested a few years earlier), it would have been a foolish move made simply to try to flex his muscles. Now five years removed, it seems Grigson just barely avoided making that stupid move, but he nonetheless wasn’t too smart with his interactions with McAfee. All of this can help us perhaps understand why Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson didn’t get along too well.
At the same time, however, given the fact that this is now a months-old story and that McAfee and Grigson have (seemingly) happily moved on to different ventures in life, it might serve McAfee well to tone the criticism down a bit. During that interview with JMV back in February, McAfee didn’t hold back from explaining why he hated Grigson, but at one point added: “I think Ryan will be a good GM one day because he has a great work ethic, but I think the way he handled people and the communication thing was just horrendous, and I think this is a wake-up call for him. Hopefully he’ll go on to have success, but he and I did not like each other at all.” I’m not sure whether or not he actually believes that, but at the very least McAfee doesn’t have to keep bringing up Grigson’s name to beat up as a joke - or, given the fact that he’s now being funny for a living, maybe he does. In other words, I guess my question is this: what’s the point of continuing to bring up Grigson’s name? He was already fired by the Colts and everyone already knows how McAfee feels.
Regardless of your thoughts on the frequency of McAfee’s criticisms, it’s clear that he did not like Ryan Grigson one bit, and he’s not alone in those feelings among Colts players either.