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Pat McAfee contemplated suicide after 2007 loss

Former Colts punter Pat McAfee takes a selfie with fans after making the team's pick during the second day of the NFL Draft Friday, April 26, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.Gw42699
Credit: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com

Broadcasting star and former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee says he contemplated suicide after missing two short field goals in an important college game between West Virginia and Pitt in 2007.

McAfee, the Mountaineers’ kicker and punter, missed kicks of 20 and 32 yards in what ended up a 13-9 victory for Pitt in the “Backyard Brawl” rivalry. West Virginia had entered the game 10-1 with legitimate aspirations for a national championship.

McAfee said he received death threats and messages encouraging his suicide over social media. Further, he was known for mingling with fans and hosting an annual barbecue with his roommate and teammate, meaning many fans in Morgantown knew where he lived.

“My life changed immediately that day. It was a terrible (expletive) night, to be honest with you,” McAfee told Sports Illustrated. “It was like something out of a movie. I just drove. I got all the way to Virginia through Maryland. I was gone for a couple days. I drove, parked, slept and kept driving. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know where I was headed. I didn’t know what was coming next. And I didn’t know if I wanted to live anymore.”

The 2022 season marks the 15th anniversary of that West Virginia team, and the teams will open their season in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, renewing a rivalry that hasn’t been played in football since 2011.

McAfee went on to spend an eight-year NFL career entirely with the Colts, after which he launched a digital media career that includes hosting “The Pat McAfee Show” and working with WWE.

He told Sports Illustrated that he has only returned to West Virginia’s campus once since he departed.

“It’s tough. I let down a lot of people. Do you want to pop back in and go to a place where you literally made every human there miserable and upset? That’s not my vibes,” he says. “I let down basically everybody I care about — my family, myself, my teammates, my coaches, everybody who’s invested time in me at West Virginia.”

–Field Level Media