INDIANAPOLIS — Pat McAfee was admittedly very nervous when he entered the office of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on Jan. 30 to let him know he wasn't going to be returning to the team for the 2017 season — or ever, for that matter.
At the age of 29, McAfee — with two years left on his current contract, no less — had made the decision to retire as an All-Pro National Football League punter to pursue a new venture as the head of Barstool Sports in Indianapolis, where he would be creating content and continuing his career as a comedian.
McAfee had come to peace with his decision, and was ready to let the cat out of the bag — but not before he had Irsay's blessing.
McAfee recalled that conversation with Irsay this week on "The Bob & Tom Show," and said once Irsay wrapped his mind around what McAfee was trying to accomplish, he couldn't have been more supportive.
"I say this with 100 percent sincerity: that conversion I had with Jim Irsay was one of the most incredible conversations I've ever had in my entire life," McAfee said. "And he started off confused, but by the end of it, gigantic hug, incredibly happy for me, told me not to be a stranger, and literally the next day, he had his assistant sending me articles about the future of Hollywood and how I could get better, and be better at this and that. So I have his full blessing, which was a gigantic weight off my shoulders."
McAfee, always the entertainer, did his best Irsay impression while on the airwaves to try to convey the conversation the two had.
After letting Irsay know of his decision, McAfee said he explained what he'll be doing for Barstool Sports, which will include opening up an office in Indianapolis, where he'll be running the show.
Irsay, of course, had some advice for McAfee to prepare him for being the boss.
"He goes, 'So you're going to be a boss? That's crazy.' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'You think you'll be able to make the big decisions that bosses have to make? 'Cause you gotta fire somebody when you're the boss. You think you'll be able to fire somebody?'" McAfee recalled of his conversation. "I said, 'I don't know.' He said, ''Cause when you fire somebody, you're firing their family. And when you're firing their family, it means you're firing their kids, which means they're probably not too happy. And then whenever you fire that family, there's another family that's probably happy, too, that they're getting the job. So these are some big decisions you gotta make.'"
McAfee said by the end of the conversation, which went in many directions, he was "just crying laughing."
"And I'm like, 'I think I'll be able to do that.'" McAfee told Irsay. "He goes, 'How do you think people are going to take this?' I go, 'Ah, I think there's going to be some negatives, some positive.' He goes, 'Yeah, I think people should be happy for you. This is awesome, man. You're chasing your passion.'"
The next morning after the announcement, Irsay tweeted his support for McAfee in his future endeavors:
McAfee — who also received a voicemail message from new Colts general manager Chris Ballard wishing him the best — walked into the meeting nervous, but said he walked out with a smile on his face and an even bigger appreciation for Irsay and the Colts organization.
"I love Jim Irsay," McAfee said. "You're talking about a guy who has had a lot of pressure on him for a long time. And to get his blessing was gigantic for me. And that conversation, again, was literally the best."
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