INDIANAPOLIS – When Jim Irsay walked out of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center pavilion early Monday evening, he had just introduced a new general manager to his fan base.
What Irsay, and his fan base, didn't know was some other major news was on the verge of being revealed.
Arguably the most popular player on the Colts was about to tell his boss that he was retiring from the NFL at the age of 29.
Inside of Irsay's office on Monday night, Pat McAfee delivered the news face-to-face.
"We sat down for an hour and 45 minutes in his office," McAfee said on the Dan Patrick Show about informing Irsay that he was retiring with two years remaining on his contract. "For the first 15 minutes, (Irsay) was a little confused and was trying to lure me back. But once he saw my excitement and my incredible gratitude to him…all he did was support me. He's excited for me.
"He said he'll walk into my office if he feels the need that I need to be punting again. It was a funny conversation, a great conversation. To have his backing and support really meant a lot to me."
Along with Irsay, who gave McAfee some articles to potentially help him in his next job, the two-time Pro Bowl punter also met with Chuck Pagano late in the 2016 season to let the head coach know of what had been stirring in his mind for a couple of seasons.
McAfee joining budding sports media site Barstool Sports, as the Chief Operating Officer of the Indianapolis headquarters, was something that really started to gain momentum back in mid-November.
The creative and comedic sides of McAfee have been something we've seen more and more in recent years.
With the physical toll adding to his right knee, McAfee decided the time was now to fully pursue something he's always longed for.
"Staring down my third knee surgery in four years, with more knee surgeries certain for the future, (injuries were) definitely a part of (my decision)," McAfee said of abruptly retiring. "My knees have really taken a beating. For the last half of the season, I couldn't really walk much on days that I kicked. I would stay in bed and ice my knees. I felt like a 90-year-old man. Going into work I was like, 'There has to be more to work than kicking balls.'
"When Barstool Sports approached me about the potential of joining their family whenever I'm done with football, I told them, 'I might be done sooner than most think.'"
Talks with Barstool picked up from there, highlighted by McAfee's announcement early Thursday morning.
Official retirement papers still need to be signed by McAfee. The former All-Pro admits he was googling Thursday morning 'how to actually retire from the NFL.'
McAfee will continue to call Indianapolis home, working out of a downtown studio while producing all sorts of content, i.e. blogs, podcasts, videos, for Barstool. McAfee will have a radio show on SIRIUS starting in the coming weeks. He will also have a show on the Barstool social channels, airing at 5:00 p.m. EST.
The elephant in the room for McAfee is why would such a successful punter walk away from guaranteed millions?
"For me, I didn't want to focus on kicking balls anymore," McAfee says.
"I wanted to focus on a different direction and hopefully make the world a happier place. I want to turn my obsessive like focus for football, and for kicking a ball, and turn it into something I think will affect a lot more people."*
- The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*