Colts los­ing Mathis to re­tire­ment after Sun­day

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Michael Marot

in­di­anapo­lis» When Robert Mathis speaks, the In­di­anapo­lis Colts lis­ten. Ev­ery time.

It’s a right the out­side line­backer earned by play­ing 14 pro­duc­tive NFL sea­sons — all with the same team, all with the same pas­sion, all with the same pen­chant for putting quar­ter­backs on the ground.

So when he fin­ished prac­tice Fri­day and gath­ered his team­mates, Mathis stood in the cen­ter and made his an­nounce­ment quickly and clearly: Sun­day’s sea­son fi­nale against the Jack­sonville Jaguars will be his last game. He made it of­fi­cial a short time later in an emo­tional news con­fer­ence. “This will be 98’s last game,” he said. Mathis had been around long enough to know how fickle the foot­ball busi­ness can be.

He’s seen the Colts let some of his clos­est friends — Dwight Freeney, Reg­gie Wayne and An­toine Bethea — walk away in free agency. He re­mem­bers Hall of Fame re­ceiver Marvin Har­ri­son fail­ing to get a call when Indy didn’t re-sign him after 2008. And he will never for­get the mind-blow­ing mo­ment on March 7, 2012, when team owner Jim Ir­say and Pey­ton Man­ning tear­fully an­nounced they were part­ing ways.

And at age 35, the signs were all there that he could be next big game to hit the street.

After miss­ing only 13 games in his first 11 pro sea­sons, Mathis has missed 19 games over the last three, in­clud­ing the en­tire 2014 sea­son — the first four to serve a per­for­mance-en­hancers sus­pen­sion for what he claimed was a banned fer­til­ity drug, the last 12 after suf­fer­ing a torn Achilles ten­don.

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