Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”
Pat McAfee, Colts punter
“Like any of us who are lucky enough to have fathers in our life, I think my father’s the guy I look up to -- Tim McAfee. He’s the guy I always worked with, the guy that used to tell me when I was doing things wrong. He was always the guy. When you’re a specialist here, there are two guys you look up to: Adam Vinatieri and your dad.
“He was my soccer coach since I was a little kid and when I made the transition, he just kind of jumped on board with me, helped me out every week. When I said in high school I was kicking for 10 hours a week, I was literally kicking for 10 hours a week and my dad was there the whole time. He’s the guy I owe all this to.
“He didn’t know anything about kicking or punting before I started. Then whatever he sees me do well, he would pick it up and whenever I wasn’t doing something well he would pick it up just from seeing me do it well in the past. He was like a guidance counselor, a ball shagger and whenever I was messing up, he’d be the first one to tell me.
“He picked it up without every trying it, without ever knowing anything about it and is still probably one of the biggest influences in my life. It’s a great thing.”