Colts punter Pat McAfee is one of the 800 members of the media covering the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium. He's providing analysis for NFL.com. You won't see him wearing fluorescent spandex for a 40-yard dash.
"I've never run a timed 40 and you will never see me doing it," said McAfee. "I wasn't invited to the combine. At my pro day they told me I could run. But I figured I was about to kick well enough that I didn't have to run."
McAfee performed well enough that the Colts selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft (222nd overall). McAfee has missed just one game in four years. Last season, he set a franchise record with a 48.2 yard gross punting average. His net average was also a career best 40.3 yards. He pinned opponents inside the 20 yard line 26 times, also a career high. McAfee also kicked off for the Colts with 45 touchbacks at a 57% rate.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Friday that resigning McAfee, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent March 12th, is a major priority.
"He's a great weapon," said Pagano. "Not only kickoffs and touchbacks and kicking out of the end zone, but pinning guys inside the 20 and 10 over and over again. It helps your field position, offense and defense."
"Listening to those words yesterday was awesome," said McAfee. "He echoed the same things he said to me in our exit interview. I hope everything works out as easily and as perfect as it should. I hope to play on Chuck Pagano's Colts team forever. I've made that very clear."
Talks have already begun between the Colts and McAfee's agent. If the two sides can't reach a deal before March 12, the Colts could use the franchise tag on McAfee, paying him $2.9 million for 2013.
"I guess there have been some conversations between my agent and the team," said McAfee. "I'm staying out of it. I don't want to hold any grudges with offers that are made. That's why it's called negotiations."
McAfee has also made clear his aspirations to become a do-it-all kicker: punting, kickoffs and field goals. Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri has handled the field goals and McAfee has kicked off since McAfee joined the team in 2009.
"It's quite a risk for a team because if I get hurt they lose two positions in one game," said McAfee. "But it's also quite an advantage because you get an extra player on the roster. So it's one of those double edged sword things. I'll continue to learn under Vinatieri hopefully. Whenever my time comes, I'll take advantage of it hopefully."
This weekend, McAfee is glad he's just here to talk and not to perform at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"I didn't get the chance to go through this four days of misery, from everything that I've heard from every one of my teammates that have gone to this," said McAfee. "It's a bad four days. It's cool to be here and see the environment. But I'm definitely happy that I'm currently in the league as opposed to trying to get in."
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