On Sunday, one of the best players in Colts franchise history played in his final game, as Robert Mathis is retiring after 14 seasons in Indianapolis. He finishes his career as the Colts’ all-time leader in sacks and the NFL’s all-time leader in strip-sacks, while only Johnny Unitas spent more seasons with the franchise.
More than just his play on the field, though, Mathis has been a respected leader and influence in the locker room, and he’s definitely been a fan favorite. So now the Colts will need someone else to fill that role, but the good news is they already have someone in the locker room that can do so: Andrew Luck.
And after the game on Sunday, NFL films caught a conversation between Mathis and Luck along those very lines. “You’re the best ever,” Luck told a mic’d up Mathis. “I love you, buddy. You’re the best.”
“It’s your show now, baby,” Mathis responded. “It’s your show. I fully trust you with it. I love you.”
The truth is that it’s been Luck’s show for a while, as Mathis has recorded just 12 sacks since his tremendous 2013 season while Luck has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in football. But it’s still noteworthy, as with Mathis stepping away the locker room loses another veteran leader and respected player, and Luck will need to step up into that role even more. On 1070 the Fan yesterday, Mathis talked about the comparison between Luck and Peyton Manning, and Mathis said that both guys were incredibly hard working and motivated to win, and that their professionalism was unmatched. They both put in the hours necessary to be great, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes and they both love the game. Mathis also said that Luck is geeky and fun-loving, and all in all it paints the picture of a guy who’s perfectly capable of being the leader of a franchise. Luck has already been doing that, but with Mathis walking away it means yet another veteran presence is leaving, meaning it’s even more Luck’s team now.
Here’s the full video of Mathis mic’d up from Sunday’s game: