Colts Robert Mathis adjusts to a year on the sidelines
INDIANAPOLIS – It’s normal and abnormal all at the same time.
Once again Robert Mathis is free to walk into the Colts complex on his is own accord now that his four game NFL suspension for use of performance enhancers has come to an end.
But a torn Achilles tendon during off site training in Atlanta shortly into the suspension has ended Mathis’ season on the field, making for an unusual situation for the NFL’s reigning sack champion.
“The first day, I’ll admit it, it felt a little weird. But I wouldn’t say it was awkward,” said Mathis about his return to the complex this week. “I’ve been here 12 years. I call it home. Got it out of the way and everything’s status quo now.”
We’ll sort of. Mathis still is not on the field and must watch the rest of the 2014 season from the sidelines as his recovery from the torn Achilles is expected to take around six months.
For the first time since the suspension began, Mathis spoke about his injury and his four weeks away from the team in which he couldn’t talk or have contact with any member of the organization. That included his next door neighbor and Colts receiver Reggie Wayne.
“Yeah, it was weird, but you have to follow the rules,” said Mathis of not being able to talk to Wayne. “I’ll talk to him all I want now.”
Mathis certainly couldn’t discuss the injury he had early in his off site training, which the linebacker said was during a routine workout which he’d done for years. Watching the team from home was a challenge in itself for Mathis
“Very tough watching my team. They’re balling. I’m very happy about that,” said Mathis. “Flipped a couple of sofas here and there, but for the most part, it’s all good.”
Doing so from here on out for Mathis will have to be done more verbally than through his trademark rushing style, which helped him collect 19.5 sacks in the 2013 season. The linebacker takes on the role of a coach for the next few months while also continuing his rehabilitation assignments.
During Wednesday’s workout Mathis was talking with the younger defenders, pointing out things here and there during drills during open media viewing time.
“Just know what you’re doing and just go somewhere real fast,” was the simple advice Mathis said he would give to the younger players.
Most of all, however, Mathis wants others not to lament over his absence on the field for the rest of the 2014 season. He said he was happy to have his contract extended through the 2016 season with the Colts and hopes that he can finish his career in Indianapolis.
“I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel sorry for me, don’t want any pity,” said Mathis. “Long year personal and professional, but everybody has to fight out of the funk sometimes.”
At least he can be in familiar territory when he does.