One of the biggest story lines of the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts is how star pass rusher Robert Mathis will return from a torn Achilles at 34 years old. The question isn't just how effective he'll be upon returning; the question is also when that return will be.
He's not expected to participate in OTAs (which was expected), and owner Jim Irsay said that Mathis' return might not be until November - though it was pretty clear that is likely a worst-case scenario. Mathis himself, however, said earlier this offseason that he plans to be ready by training camp.
What's the latest timeline for his recovery? He appeared on WTHR last night in Indianapolis and discussed it, as the Anderson Herald Bulletin's George Bremer noted:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Robert Mathis on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WTHR?src=hash">#WTHR</a> on returning by training camp: "I said it. I meant it. I'll be back by September." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash">#Colts</a></p>— George Bremer (@gmbremer) <a href="https://twitter.com/gmbremer/status/605216436991193088">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The Colts open the 2015 regular season on the road against the Buffalo Bills on September 13, and so while Mathis wasn't entirely clear, it's likely that he's targeting a return for that game.
The pass rusher is reportedly "on a mission to prove" himself this year, as ESPN's Mike Wells reported a few weeks ago, as he's, again, a 34-year old coming off of a torn Achilles, which brings a lot of question marks. Without a doubt, however, he's one of the top players to ever wear the horseshoe and will one day be in the team's Ring of Honor, as he is the franchise's all-time leader with 111 sacks and also has recorded 48 forced fumbles during his 12-year career. In the last season that he was on the field, 2013, he led the entire NFL with 19.5 sacks and also notched eight forced fumbles, being as dominant as we've ever seen him. But now, he's had a year off from the game and he isn't getting any younger, so it's hard to know what to expect from him. If he could return to something even close to his form from a few years ago that would be a huge boost for the Colts, and that is certainly the hope. The first step toward getting there, however, is to get back on the field, and Mathis expects to do that by September.