Colts Punter McAfee Is Plum for Growth
Brown, Scott, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
MIAMI -- Pat McAfee shared a dinner table with Peyton Manning on Monday night. The following morning, the pride of Plum looked anything like but a wide-eyed rookie as he commandeered a microphone during Media Day and interviewed teammates with an Indianapolis TV crew in tow.
Of course, McAfee hopes the highlight of his Super Bowl experience comes at the end of it -- and specifically with an Indianapolis Colts win over the New Orleans Saints.
If that happens, McAfee will have somehow accomplished the feat of reaching the pinnacle without coming close to topping out.
That is because the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder has plenty of room to grow as a punter even though McAfee averaged 44.3 yards per kick this season and deposited a third of his punts inside opponents' 20- yard line.
"I didn't really learn how to traditionally punt until this season," said McAfee, whose signature at West Virginia was his Aussie-style kicks. "I don't know what my potential is, but hopefully I'll get there some day. I'm still learning."
Indeed, McAfee didn't start punting until his sophomore year in Morgantown, and the Plum High graduate figured kicking would be his ticket to the NFL.
It has been -- sort of.
The Colts have used McAfee, whom they drafted in the seventh round last April, as a kickoff specialist as well as a punter. He boomed 21 touchbacks this season, tied for the sixth-most in the NFL.
"He's got a tremendous future ahead of him," Colts kicker Matt Stover said, "so what I want to do is help him to understand that and take care of himself on and off the field so he can reach those goals. …