By Keisha J Kelley
I live by the phrase "If they want you, they will find you." It's a phrase I have been saying for almost twenty years. It's special to me because I always associate it with Robert Mathis. Since his playing days at Alabama A&M University, we knew he indeed was someone different. The Indianapolis Colts knew it too! The former Indianapolis Colts defensive end will be inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 28 when the team hosts the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mathis was scheduled to be inducted in 2020, but the ceremony was postponed to this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mathis, the franchise's all-time sack leader, played 14 seasons (2003-2016) with the Colts after being selected by the team in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He saw action in 192 career games (121 starts) and totaled 604 tackles (456 solo), 123.0 sacks, 18 passes defensed, 52 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries (three returned for touchdowns), one interception and 15 special teams stops. Mathis appeared in 18 postseason contests (11 starts) and tallied 48 tackles (32 solo), 6.5 sacks, two passes defensed, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was a member of the Colts' Super Bowl XLI-winning team.
"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 last two decades," said Jim Irsay, Colts Owner & CEO. "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 lineman in the league. And to watch him strip-sack the quarterback – which he did better and more than anyone in NFL history – was a thing of beauty. What's more, Robert has stayed connected to the Horseshoe and has helped guide and teach our next generation of players. We are so proud that his name and his Hall of Fame-worthy career will be celebrated and remembered in Indianapolis from this day forward."
Mathis finished his career ranked 17th in league history in sacks and his 47 sack-forced fumbles are a league record. He was named to six consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-2013) and was voted a 2013 Associated Press and Sporting News First Team NFL All-Pro selection. In 2013, Mathis won the inaugural Deacon Jones Award as the NFL's sack leader with 19.5. He became the second member in Colts history to lead the league in sacks (Dwight Freeney, 2004). Mathis was named to the 2013 PFWA All-NFL and All-AFC teams as well as the NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Over his career, he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week on five occasions (2005, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2016) and AFC Defensive Player of the Month four times (November 2009, September 2010, October 2013 and December 2013). Mathis is tied with Dwight Freeney for the most Defensive Player of the Week awards in franchise history. He was also named the team's recipient of the 2011 Ed Block Courage Award.
Mathis will become the 17th honoree in the Ring of Honor, joining: Owner Robert Irsay (1996), WR-Bill Brooks (1998), Head Coach Ted Marchibroda (2000), OL-Chris Hinton (2001), QB-Jim Harbaugh (2005), "Colts Nation" (2007), Head Coach Tony Dungy (2010), WR-Marvin Harrison (2011), RB-Edgerrin James (2012), RB-Eric Dickerson and RB-Marshall Faulk (2013), C-Jeff Saturday (2015), General Manager Bill Polian (2016), QB-Peyton Manning (2017), WR-Reggie Wayne (2018) and DE-Dwight Freeney (2019).
From "The Hill" to the Ring of Honor, HBCU' graduates are always winning!! In this case Robert Mathis is the Star!!