So just how good has Mathis been during his 11-year NFL career?
He has been named to five consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-12). Ranks second in franchise history to Freeney with 101 career sacks. He’s had four career 10-plus sack seasons, including a previous career best of 11 in 2010. Mathis has had 24 multi-sack games and three career three-plus sack games. And he has forced 42 fumbles since coming into the league in 2003.
Not bad for a guy who was considered to be too small to play defensive end on a regular basis in the NFL. Or was considered to be playing out of position at defensive end. And, of course, there were the doubters that a player from a FCS college program could be as dominant as he has become.
He’s used to the questions. His answers come on the field.
“I think he’s a self-starter. I think he’s a self-motivated guy. I think that’s obvious at the level that he’s played throughout his career. So whether that [playing with a chip on his shoulder] factors in or not, I don’t know,” Pagano explains.
Mathis has his own special way of describing his philosophy.
“Play football. That’s your job. Do your job,” he stressed.