As quarterback Andrew Luck dropped back to pass Monday afternoon he scanned the field to his right and attempted to throw to open tight end Dwayne Allen.
It looked like the pass would be completed before No. 98 came out of his linebacker position and got his hand on it.
Yes, that’s No. 98, outside linebacker Robert Mathis playing with his hand off the ground for the first time in his NFL career.
Mathis said the last time he didn’t play defensive end was as a sophomore in high school.
“Since high school pretty much, so it’s very new uncharted territory for me. But I’m learning it, getting it, and enjoying the process,” Mathis said of the position change.
The learning process involving how to play in coverage and how to play in space is all new to Mathis, but having the repertoire as one of the game’s dominant pass rushers only adds to his arsenal.
“It helps a lot because I know what keys to key, also how to get off the ball and, you know, things of that nature,” Mathis said of playing defensive end. “So it helps to transition, because I have the middle man, per say, you have another linebacker still.”
It’s been a long way coming for Mathis as an ‘undersized’ fifth round draft pick in 2003 out of Alabama A&M.
He now enters his 10th season in the league and is the fourth longest tenured player in a Colts uniform (Dwight Freeney, Justin Snow, and Reggie Wayne).
“It’s a blessing to still be around after 10 years. I don’t take it for granted. You’ve just got to wake up, thank God and go to work,” Mathis said.
Even though Mathis might not seem like the most outspoken voice in the Colts locker room, when he speaks the players listen.
His words were strong on Monday afternoon in letting people know this year’s team is beyond anxious to get on the playing field come September.
“Everybody is hungry and ready to hunt. Everybody is having fun,” Mathis said. “I don’t have rebuilding years in me, only reload. I rebuilt last year. 2-14 was the rebuilding year. New year, new attitude, new defense, new offense, new tune.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, dwayne allen, Dwight Freeney, justin snow, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis
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