Key performers and trends for the Indianapolis Colts’ aegis at the season’s mid point. Scott Horner, [email protected]m
“This is who I am,” says Robert Mathis, actuality alive with Colts arresting end Jabaal Sheard. “I’m a football guy. That’s adamantine to explain. But I adulation actuality here, teaching pass-rush and how to body-slam quarterbacks.”(Photo: Matt Kryger/IndyStar)
INDIANAPOLIS – They alarm him Drillmaster Mathis — or worse yet, Mr. Mathis — and he bristles. “It’s aloof Rob,” he begs.
They bug him for crack-of-dawn blur sessions, and his face lights up. “It tells me they appetite it,” he says.
They advance through a convenance drill, and he seethes. “Don’t accomplish me put a helmet on…” he warns.
He could be on a bank appropriate now, cocktail in hand, 14 gilded NFL seasons on the résumé, Ring of Honor alarm coming, not a abuse affair larboard to prove. But Robert Mathis is annihilation afterwards his drive, the drive that angry undersized and disregarded into the NFL’s best strip-sack leader, the Indianapolis Colts’ authorization sack king, a six-time Pro Bowler, a apple champion. If you appetite to apprehend about continued odds, apprehend about Robert Mathis.
That drive captivated him — it was his oxygen. He congenital his name by ballyhoo the odds, by bedlam at the doubters, by burying added quarterbacks than any Colt in history. Back it was over, back Mathis advised a activity afterwards football, he absitively that wasn’t a activity he wanted, or could alike imagine. A man can’t alive afterwards oxygen.
One of Robert Mathis’ pupils this abatement is amateur Kemoko Turay, who’s been allurement his drillmaster to watch blur with him at 6 a.m. (Photo: Matt Kryger/IndyStar)
Forget the beach. He’d rather be on a convenance field.
At first, it absolutely afraid him. Throughout the aboriginal decade of his career, Mathis remained adamant: He capital annihilation to do with coaching. But as Father Time bent up, and the blind of his arena career closed, his cerebration shifted. Mathis was football. He capital to pay it forward. He acquainted alleged to do so.
So Chuck Pagano gave him a shot; and Frank Reich another. Mathis is in his 16th year cutting Colts’ dejected and a division and a bisected into activity as the team’s canyon blitz consultant. He’s the authorization fable who now appropriately grinds like the low-level abettor he is. The hours are continued — “three times” as continued as back he was a player, he vows. The spotlight has thinned. Mathis’ affection has not. You should see him on the convenance field, alive his proteges, or on Sunday mornings, abating the bodies and minds of his men afore battle.
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It’s adamantine not to get the activity that this is absolutely area Robert Mathis belongs.
“This is who I am,” he declares. “I’m a football guy. That’s adamantine to explain. But I adulation actuality here, teaching pass-rush and how to body-slam quarterbacks.”
Deep in his core, Mathis believes it’s an art form, one he able afterwards years in The John Teerlinck Academy of Sack. Appropriate aing to “Lifelong Colt,” Mathis ability as able-bodied accept “He Hated Quarterbacks” engraved on his headstone. It’s become his life’s work.
(So abundant for the academy drillmaster who asked him to comedy abhorrent line.)
Indianapolis Colts Robert Mathis works with Al Woods afore the alpha of their game.The Indianapolis Colts booty on the New York Jets in East Rutherford, NJ., on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Photo: Jenna Watson/IndyStar)
Teerlinck, by the way, was the acclaimed Colts’ arresting band drillmaster during the celebrity years, don of the baleful Freeney-Mathis bike that ashamed abhorrent linemen for a decade. Mathis idolizes him to this day. Asked how abundant of Teerlinck’s article he incorporates into his assignment today, Mathis doesn’t hesitate. “100 percent.”
He’s been alive amateur Kemoko Turay adamantine lately, the raw-but-gifted Rutgers artefact the Colts are cyberbanking on heavily for the future. Turay is the one who asked Mathis to accommodated him for 6 a.m. blur sessions. That told the drillmaster the kid wants it. “If you got a guy you accept to chase, it’ll be a abbreviate career,” Mathis says. “If he bothers you (to appear in early), I like that. He wants to learn. Aggregate I know, he wants to know.”
Turay knew of Mathis’ ability — 19th on the league’s best sack list, one atom abaft Dwight Freeney — but knew little of his career arc. Mathis is in the bosom of conduct it into him. “He’s been cogent me he had a dent on his accept the minute he got into the league,” Turay says. “That at every date of his career, they brought in addition to booty his spot. Added than anything, he keeps cogent me that I gotta be a dog every day in practice.”
“I feel like a lot of guys aren’t actuality accomplished right,” says Mathis, apparent actuality alive with Colts arresting accouterment Al-Quadin Muhammad afore Sunday’s d in Oakland. (Photo: Matt Kryger/IndyStar)
Watch the two of them afore a game, and you’ll see Mathis in his element. His gauntlet of countdown drills angle out like a abscessed deride on a acreage area coaches accidentally angle and chat, and players jog and stretch. Mathis and his pupils are alive up a sweat. They’re grinding.
At one point, he’s flipping artificial assurance at Turay, over and over and over, banishment the adolescent arresting end to bang them abroad with a flurry of duke movements. Then they box, Turay throwing haymakers at the pads Mathis straps assimilate anniversary arm.
“For a arresting lineman, easily are everything,” Turay has learned. “It’s leverage, it’s attractive at their , what duke you’re using, what kinda bash you’re making. It’s all those little things that construe into the game.”
Mathis blanket the closing from an old offseason conditioning of his, a alloy of battle and alloyed aggressive arts. He became a hand-to-hand action adept backward in his career, and accompanying with his backbreaking speed, angry himself into the best strip-sack artisan in the league. Aloof accepting to the quarterback was never acceptable enough. Mathis capital the football too. In 13 advantageous seasons he scripted 46 of them.
Now he seeks to cast Turay from able anticipation to alarming pro.
“Just the aspect of absent guys to do it right,” Mathis says. “I feel like a lot of guys aren’t actuality accomplished right.”
Indianapolis Colts canyon blitz adviser Robert Mathis warms up with Indianapolis Colts arresting end Jihad Ward (51) at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)
The about-face from brilliant to amusement seems to accept reinvigorated him. It was 16 years ago he accustomed at the Colts’ West 56th Street ability for the aboriginal time, a abstruse fifth-round aces out of a tiny academy bubbles with ambition. The Colts are all he knows, and he’s appreciative of that. “I am Indy,” he boasted back he retired, “Indy is me.”
He played beneath Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano; with Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison; he now coaches beneath Frank Reich. Along with abiding article Adam Vinatieri, he’s amid the better bridges amid the Colts’ accomplished and present.
He could be anywhere appropriate now: yapping on television, assimilation up the sun, savoring retirement. And no one would accusation him. Robert Mathis becoming the appropriate to do whatever he capital afterwards he spent 14 seasons scripting his name amid the best to anytime abrasion the horseshoe.
Instead, he’s absolutely area he wants to be. Continued hours, little fanfare, a allay for football fulfilled.
Call Brilliant anchorman Zak Keefer at (317) 444-6134 and chase him on Twitter: @zkeefer.
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