Pat McAfee talks to Colts about being both punter and kicker
Colts punter Pat McAfee has talked to the team about potentially becoming their field goal kicker as well.
McAfee, who already handles kickoffs for the Colts, said after signing his new five-year contract that he would like to add field goals to his duties. McAfee said he hopes free agent kicker Adam Vinatieri returns this year, but after Vinatieri leaves, McAfee wants a crack at the job.
“It was definitely brought up and that was kind of the thing I think that was most talked about,” McAfee said, in comments distributed by the team. “Who knows what’s going to happen with Vinatieri? If he gets re-signed, if he wants to get re-signed, however long he wants to play, I just wanted to know whenever that guy is done, whenever that Hall-of-Fame career is over, that I just want a fair shake in kicking as well. That came up in the conversation. Who knows what’s going to happen with everything else obviously with him or who else they bring in. That definitely came up during negotiations and I’m excited to see how that turns out as well.”
McAfee was both punter and kicker in college at West Virginia, and at one point he owned the record for the longest field goal ever kicked at Heinz Field, having booted a 51-yarder against the Pitt Panthers. So he has the skills for the job.
However, it’s very, very rare in today’s NFL for teams to even consider having one person handle all the kicking. NFL teams typically want a punter to spend all his time practicing punting and a field goal kicker to spend all his time practicing field goal kicking. The Falcons had a disastrous experiment in 2006, when Michael Koenen opened the season as both the punter and the kicker. They scrapped that idea just two weeks into the season, after Koenen missed six of his first eight field goal attempts.
Still, finding one player who can handle all the kicking would free up a roster spot when depth is needed at another position. As the NFL considers phasing out the extra point after already making touchbacks easier on kickoffs, teams might start to think the kicking game has become less important, and consider devoting just one roster spot to kicking. If it happens any time soon, McAfee would likely be the man to do it.