At the end of a minicamp practice in Indianapolis last month, Colts owner Jim Irsay gave linebacker Robert Mathis a watch as a gift.
That’s the cliched gift that an employer gives a retiring employee, but that wasn’t the reason for this gift. For one thing, safety Mike Adams said he saw nothing but diamonds on a watch that doesn’t sound like the simple gold one usually given in such situations. For another, Mathis has said many times this offseason that he plans to be on the field when the 2015 season gets underway.
Mathis actually got the watch in honor of winning the Deacon Jones award after recording 19.5 sacks in 2013. He wasn’t able to follow up on that performance last year because of a four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and a torn Achilles suffered while training for his return to the team. Returns to form aren’t a sure thing for 34-year-old players coming off that injury, but coach Chuck Pagano thinks Mathis can make it back.
“When he gets cleared, we’ll get him back on the grass,” Pagano said, via the team’s website. “Then when we get him back, we’ve got to be smart with how we get him back in the lineup and those type of things. Time will tell. I’m not Kreskin or Nostradamus. I don’t know. I’m not trying to be a jokester. I don’t know. If anybody can do it, I’m putting my money on him.”
It’s not clear when Mathis will be cleared, but it is clear that the Colts would be a much more threatening defense with the Mathis of 2013 coming off the edge this season.