One of the big questions this offseason surrounding the Indianapolis Colts has been the status of pass rusher Robert Mathis and when he will return to the field following the torn Achilles suffered near the start of the 2014 season.
That return date is still up in the air, but Mathis has one mindset at this point: "Week one vs. Buffalo," he told media on Thursday. His goal is to be back for the team's first game of the regular season when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.
He's confident that he's on pace to reach that goal, too, as he said that he is feeling "awesome." He added that he is "making big strides, clearing a lot of hurdles and I'm very encouraged." Taking things one step at a time is tough for him, however, as he'd rather just be on the field with his teammates.
"It's frustrating because I'm used to going 100 miles an hour or whatever," Mathis said. "Just have to be smart. I'm at the stage of my career where hey, smart not hard." He went on to say that, "I want to be out there with my guys. We've got something special. I want to be a part of it. I'm busting my hump to be out there."
Recovering from his torn Achilles has been "by far" the toughest thing that Mathis has gone through in his football career, he acknowledged, and he's doing everything he can to get back in time to start the season with his teammates. While this is the time of year that most players usually take off, Mathis isn't having any part of that. "I took a year off," he said. "It's time to go."
Mathis has racked up a Colts franchise record 111 career sacks and has added 48 forced fumbles, and in 2013 - the last time he was on the field - he led the NFL in sacks with 19.5. Yet there are a lot of question marks surrounding Mathis and his comeback in 2015. At 34-years old and coming off of a torn Achilles that forced him to miss the entire 2014 season, how effective will he be? That's the question that's nearly impossible to answer right now, but we might find out sooner in the season rather than later, as Mathis hopes to be ready for week one against the Bills.