When the Arizona Cardinals signed Evan Mathis in the offseason, it was looked at by most as a good signing.
On paper, it was, but Mathis was close to retirement this offseason, allegedly having to be “talked into” playing one more season with the Arizona Cardinals.
He was coming off ankle surgeries, and there is no question about his ability, the questions were simply:
Did he still want to play?
Could he make it through 16 games?
Both of those questions were answered, as Mathis was placed on the injured reserve and when asked about the chances of playing in 2017, his answer was funny but also poignant:
#AzCardinals G Evan Mathis to me on possibly playing next season: "I'm only going to play if someone lets me be a third down pass rusher."— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 9, 2016
Mathis showed up and gave it his all; I would never question that about him as a player. When he is out there he is always going 100 mile an hour, he is consistently one of the best guards in the NFL and his play this season, when he was on the field was no different.
Yet, you always wondered how eager he was to continue to play injured, to continue to press through his nagging issues. It is not a question of whether or not he was trying, he absolutely was, it is a question of whether or not his life after football would be worth the sacrifice he was making every Sunday.
While 2016 is not closed yet, it remains to be seen if he will be the player the Arizona Cardinals bring back off the IR.
I appreciate his honesty and candidness about 2017 and hope he is able to get healthy and enjoy his retirement.
Good luck in the next phase of your life Mr. Mathis, if we have seen the last of you on the football field.