Pat McAfee has quickly become one of the best NFL media personalities out there. Pure entertainment on his radio show and also as an analyst. It’s amazing to think the former All-Pro retired before his 30th birthday, coming off arguably the best season of his career in 2016. A number of reasons went into that decision. The biggest being his falling out with Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson.
When he left, he promised himself he would never go back. He was done with the NFL. He didn’t want to be one of those people who went back on their decisions. However, in 2019 it seems the Chicago Bears made him an offer he almost couldn’t refuse. One thing McAfee had never gotten a chance to do in the NFL was being a kicker. Having spent his entire career in Indianapolis, he never had to because of Adam Vinatieri.
People forget McAfee wasn’t just a punter in college.
He kicked field goals too and was rather good at it. In his final season at West Virginia, he went 17-of-20 on his field goal attempts and didn’t miss a single extra point. The guy felt he could always kick. So when the Bears job became up for grabs in 2019, they gave him a call asking if he’d be interested. For the first time in his post-playing career, McAfee got the itch to return.
So why didn’t it happen? The two-time Pro Bowler went into detail about the events that transpired. Receiving the call and deciding to begin training again. His view on the competition the Bears held and what ultimately stopped him from becoming an active participant.
Pat McAfee would’ve been so much fun
Sadly, a knee issue popped up during his training. That proved to be the sign that it might be best to stay retired. Everybody remembers what happened after that. Chicago ended up trading for Eddy Pineiro late in the competition. He went on to outlast everybody and held the job for 2019. While not overly great, he was an improvement on Cody Parkey. Then last year suffered an injury, paving the way for Cairo Santos to steal the job with a remarkable 2020 season.
So all things considered, things seemed to have worked out for the best. Pat McAfee got to continue his ascent in the sports media community. Chicago found their kicker. Still, it’s hard not to wonder how McAfee would’ve fit into that locker room. Fans probably would’ve taken to him immediately. Yet his outspoken nature would’ve been an interesting challenge for head coach Matt Nagy.
Would the Bears have had him pull double duty as the punter too?
It would’ve been a fun story. If anybody could overcome the shadow of Parkey that season, McAfee was that guy. He was a big-game player who had the highest standards. Somebody who felt he could be on the same tier as Vinatieri. Sadly we’ll never know what could’ve been. Injuries always have a way of steering good players away from Chicago. Ask Kurt Warner. Either way, it’s a wild story.