"That canal thing changed it for me," he said. "Absolutely. I was on TMZ and it was one of those things where everyone made me look like the worst human on the planet."
McAfee knows who said what about him and said he took offense to ESPN radio hosts calling him a scumbag.
"People were calling me the worst human being on the planet, but I think a lot of people in Indiana said, 'Listen, he didn't drive. He didn't do anything to hurt anybody,'" said McAfee, who remains WVU's leader in career points. "They kind of accepted me as one of their own and that's where I think things took off."
McAfee had been a guest host for a Monday night radio show in Indianapolis called "Huddle up, Indy," before the arrest and he took a few weeks of after. He also went silent on Twitter and wanted to assure people he was taking his arrest and the embarrassment he caused himself, his family and his team seriously.
Slowly, though, he was drawn back in by the support of others.
"The people on Twitter really, really helped me," he said.
McAfee ended his silence with some apologies and by acknowledging his mistake. He then got back to being himself, though with more eyes on him and what he said than ever before.
"Before Twitter, individual players who weren't starting quarterbacks or wide receivers or big-time players never really had a voice," he said. "I'm the Indianapolis Colts punter. I'm Peyton Manning's punter. That's pretty much the bottom of the bottom.
"Before the incident, I'd go out on the field and get booed because Peyton had just failed and the fans weren't happy. I'd run off the field and get booed on my way off. It's not a glorious position. When I got in trouble, people on Twitter were sending me messages: 'Hey, man, we've got your back.'"
People spotted a personality. The radio offers arrived. Early in the offseason he came up with the idea to host his online talk show. He had a variety of guests, including a pro wrestler, a newspaper columnist and a list of Colts players, like tight end Dallas Clark, receiver Austin Collie and linebackers Gary Brackett and Clint Session.
"It was just for fun," he said. "A lot of guys on the team don't have Twitter, but they're absolutely hilarious. I wanted to show Indiana we have guys who are funny and we have a good team. Basically everything I did was for the people off Indiana to understand our team had a bunch of good guys."
McAfee has two years remaining on his contract with the Colts, who actually traded up in the seventh round to get their punter in the 2009 draft. He averaged 42 yards on 65 punts last season and had 21 inside the 20-yard line. Twenty-two of his punts forced a fair catch and only 25 were returned, a number just three full-time punters could beat.
He averaged 44.3 yards per punt as a rookie in 2009 (37.8 net) and 21 of his 64 punts were inside the 20.
"I'm trying to build a nice little following, but I'm in a very lucky position right now for a punter to be in," he said. "I've got fans and a city that like mine, I'm on a great team that likes me. I'm trying to make the most of it on and off the field and do my job and also try to get some business ventures so later on I can make those things happen."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.