INDIANAPOLIS – Robert Mathis’ moment in the spotlight was delayed but is back on the calendar and adds to an already anticipated day.
The Indianapolis Colts will add their career sack leader to the Ring of Honor Nov. 28 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Lucas Oil Stadium. The Bucs are led by quarterback Tom Brady, who was on the receiving end of 5 of Mathis’s club-record 123 sacks during his time with the New England Patriots.
Mathis’ induction, originally scheduled for last season, was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just wanted to live out my dreams of playing in the NFL,’’ Mathis said last year when his selection was first announced. “I could not have imagined it was going to turn out the way it did.
“I’m so severely blessed and humbled. Just an honor, man.’’
Added owner Jim Irsay: “From a fifth-round pick from a small college to one of the most effective and feared defensive players in the NFL, Robert Mathis was a centerpiece of the historic Colts teams of the past two decades. He was undersized and underrated, but he made up for it with a motor that wouldn’t quit and a flawless technique that outmatched the most talented linemen in the league.’’
Mathis’ 123 career sacks rank 19th in NFL history while he holds the league record with 54 forced fumbles, according to Pro Football Reference. His 47 sack-forced-fumbles also is a league record and Mathis set the team’s single-season record with a league-best 19.5 sacks in 2013.
Mathis, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, is the 17th inductee into the Ring of Honor. He joins: Dwight Freeney (2019), Reggie Wayne (2018), Peyton Manning (2017), Bill Polian (2016), Jeff Saturday (2015), Marshall Faulk (2013), Eric Dickerson (2013), Edgerrin James (2012), Marvin Harrison (2011), Tony Dungy (2010), Colts Nation (2007), Jim Harbaugh (2005), Chris Hinton (2001), Ted Marchibroda (2000), Bill Brooks (1998) and Robert Irsay (1996).
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.