INDIANAPOLIS – There never was any doubt in
After playing last season under a franchise tag, he hoped there was a future with the only professional team, city and fan base he ever has known.
Today while on break with the NFL Network, McAfee got emotional news.
“I had to wipe those (tears) off because I had so much makeup on (that) I didn’t want it to run with the tears. It’s so much of a weight off my shoulders to get it over with.”
Along with a number of teammates, McAfee was to hit unrestricted free agency next Tuesday. It was not something he wished for, and it preyed on his mind continuously.
“I didn’t want to play for any other NFL team. I didn’t want to hit the open market. I didn’t want to become a free agent,” said McAfee. “I didn’t want to do any of that.
“Every night when I (went) to lay my head down, I couldn’t even imagine being in another city, or playing for another team, or representing another fan base. I didn’t want to even think about it. I don’t know what I would’ve done had free agency hit.”
He feels a loyalty to his teammates and fans and of all the players who have toiled in Indianapolis for 30 seasons, McAfee expressed perhaps the most intense feeling for the city and its inhabitants.
“The people of Indianapolis and the Colts Legion have embraced me ever since 2010, and that’s why I am so indebted to this city and to these people,” said McAfee. “They took me in at a time when I was down. After I got in trouble, I was in, probably, the lowest point of my life and the people of this city all said, ‘We want nobody else but you.’
“That’s why I love the city so much. I’m so happy to be a Hoosier. I don’t live anywhere else in the off-season. I live in Indianapolis. This worked out exactly how I wanted it to.”
McAfee is one-half of the kicking combination that has performed well for the Colts. His sidekick,
With his uncertainty resolved, McAfee hopes the kicking dynamic is retained. What did occur in negotiations was the point of him possibly assuming placement duties at some undetermined future point.
“It was definitely brought up, and that was kind of the thing I think that was most talked about,” said McAfee. “Who knows what’s going to happen with (Adam) Vinatieri?
“If he gets re-signed, if he wants to get re-signed, however long he wants to play, I just wanted to know when that guy is done, whenever that Hall-of-Fame career is over, that I just want a fair shake in kicking as well. That definitely came up during negotiations, and I’m excited to see how that turns out as well.”
As for now, the punter who has produced some of the best seasons in franchise history is cleared for more takeoffs.
It is the only thing that has been on his mind.
“It was just so much off your shoulders,” said McAfee. “I didn’t know where I was going to be living in a month. I had no idea what I was going to be doing. I had no idea if I was going to representing Indianapolis anymore. I had no idea if I was going to be on the Colts. It was all kind of up in the air.
“I’m so happy. I just can’t wait to get back in the facility and get to work.”