Robert Mathis Announces Retirement from NFL
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis announced on Friday that he will retire after the season ends.
He conducted a news conference on Friday where he made the announcement (via ESPN): “This will be 98’s last game Sunday. Put a cap on a blessed career, something I never would have imagined.”
A Standout Career
The 35-year-old linebacker spent all 14 of his NFL seasons with the Colts. Indy took him 138th overall out of Alabama A&M University in the 2003 Draft. They never could have imagined that the fifth-round pick would go on to enjoy such a decorated career.
Mathis was named to six consecutive Pro Bowl rosters from 2008 through 2013 and was named a First-team All-Pro in ’13. That year, Mathis racked up 59 tackles along with a career-high 19.5 sacks and a whopping eight forced fumbles. He was rewarded for his stellar season by earning the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
He still has one game left to play, but Mathis has racked up 122 sacks with 51 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and an interception across his lengthy NFL career. He and Dwight Freeney combined to give Indianapolis one of the most fearsome defensive lines during their respective primes, and helped the team to a Super Bowl championship in 2006.
Mathis’ place in Colts’ lore
Mathis will retire as the Colts’ all-time leader in sacks and has racked up an NFL record 40 strip-sacks.
He was never quite the same after that record-breaking 2013 campaign, as he missed the following season thanks to a four-game substance abuse suspension followed by a torn Achilles. In the two years since, Mathis has recorded just 11 total sacks.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had high praise for all that Mathis has brought to the franchise over the years:
“All that he does inside this building and all that he does outside this building for the community, he is a warrior, they don’t make them like that. I wish they all had his drive and his passion, his love for the game and his toughness and durability, coachability, tenacity, resolve and everything.
“He is a guy that nothing was given to him, he earned his way into this league and he has never taken it for granted, not one day. He never let any of the success or fame or money or this, that and the other ever get to him. He has been the same guy for 14 seasons. He looks at it as a privilege and not a right. So many times you find it the other way.
“I wish they all got it and figured it out like he figured it out and came with that gratitude every single day.”
Mathis played with a chip on his shoulder after scouts claimed he was too small and unathletic to have success at the NFL level. He will take the field for the final time Sunday afternoon when the Colts take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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