Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the last time that Robert Mathis plays in the NFL. Mathis announced on Friday during his weekly media session that he plans on retiring after the final game of the regular season.
Robert Mathis Announces Retirement
Mathis, 35, has played with the Indianapolis Colts for the entirety of his professional career. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2003 draft out of Alabama A&M, he has made a mission of terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and stunning offensive linemen with his dominant bull rush and strip sacking abilities.
A situational player at this point in his career, Mathis has only tallied 4 sacks so far this season. That hasn’t changed offensive coordinators’ need to account for his pass-rushing abilities on 3rd down, however. With his retirement, the Colts need for a pass rusher in the upcoming draft becomes even more prevalent and it can be assumed that this decision will significantly impact GM Ryan Grigson’s draft strategy for next April.
A Career of Terrorizing Opposing Quarterbacks
In 14 seasons with the Colts, Mathis has amassed 122 sacks – good enough for 18th all time (tied with Simeon Rice) and to make him the Colts all-time sack leader. Mathis also holds the NFL career record for strip sacks, breaking Jason Taylor’s previous record of 39 in November of 2013 against the Arizona Cardinals. He currently sits at 46 strip sacks – a number that could potentially increase against Jacksonville on Sunday. Mathis only needs half of a sack to tie former Colt and teammate Dwight Freeney (122.5) for the 17th most all time.
Mathis ends his career with one Super Bowl win, 6 Pro Bowl nods, one First-Team All-Pro, one Second-Team All-Pro, an AFC Defensive Player of the Year award (2013), and the inaugural Deacon Jones Award for leading the NFL in sacks (2013). With his retirement, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri and Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney are the two players from the Colts’ 2006 Super Bowl run still active in the NFL.